By: Brandon Mulder

Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for life — which is backing a proposal to ban abortion beginning at fertilization (Texas law bans abortions after 20 weeks) — argues that Planned Parenthood places women on a pathway that, for many, ultimately leads to abortion.

Although “it’s difficult to make a causal relationship,” Pojman argues that many women seeking pregnancy-related services at Planned Parenthood are ultimately getting referred to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities.

“There’s definitely referrals going on,” he said. “That’s certainly part of Planned Parenthood’s practices — is to refer women for abortions.”

And women who are seeking non-pregnancy related health services build a “client relationship” with Planned Parenthood. Then, if those women later become pregnant, Pojman said, “they know who to call.”

“A woman searching for breast or cervical cancer screening or high blood pressure screening, if they do a pregnancy test on her and she’s positive, then they’d do a referral to their abortion facility,” he said.

However, because medical referral information is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Pojman said he hasn’t seen any records showing this connection.

“It’s reasonable to believe that fewer women going to Planned Parenthood facilities for any reason will likely result in fewer abortions,” he said.

Planned Parenthood spesperson Sarah Wheat says that none of these claims have factual basis. A standard component of family planning services is providing nondirective pregnancy counseling, Wheat said. All patients are informed of all of their legal and medical options.

“Providing patients with referrals for all of their medical options is not unique to Planned Parenthood,” Wheat said.

Further, Pojman’s argument ignores the fact that many women rely on Planned Parenthood to obtain contraception and avoid unwanted pregnancies, said Aiken. According to Planned Parenthood’s own data, 82,400 Texas women received birth control through Planned Parenthood last year.

Abortion referrals “seems to be exactly what would be precipitated by kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid,” Aiken said. “If there are no Medicaid funds to help low-income patients get contraception, I would imagine that abortion referrals would be necessary precisely because of the lack of funding.”

Healthy Texas Women
Pojman said Texas’ own family planning services program could easily absorb the 8,800 Planned Parenthood Medicaid patients.

Created by the Legislature, Healthy Texas Women launched in 2016 to provide family planning and health care services to low-income women. It served 173,000 women in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.

By: Andrew Zelinski

It certainly felt that way on Saturday, when hundreds of “right to life” proponents gathered outside the Capitol for a protest marking the forty-eighth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Some joined a of honking vehicles proceeding down Congress Avenue and held signs through open sunroofs, while others congregated on the sidewalk and chanted slogans including “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go.” In the crowd, a pair of middle-school girls jointly yelled “Abortion is murder!” and waved signs at passing drivers, jumping around as if they were at a Justin Bieber concert.

Some ardent anti-abortion advocates, such as Joe Pojman, who helped organize the rally and leads the nonprofit Texas Alliance for Life, are not convinced that the U.S. Supreme Court has shifted enough ideologically to overturn Roe, but they’d still be happy if the high court unravels the precedent a little. “We don’t think it’s likely the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in total anytime soon,” said Pojman. “We’re not sure that the court is ready.” He wants state lawmakers to prepare for the moment it is.

By: Heather Clark

Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life lamented the funding in a statement, remarking in part, “The City of Austin continues to brashly work around the state law passed in 2019, banning contracts between government entities and abortion providers and their affiliates.”

“This blatant disregard for the intent of the legislature and the governor shows how detached this Council is from the vast majority of our taxpayers who do not want their tax dollars funding abortion in any way, shape, or form.”

He said that City Council missed an opportunity to rather fund crisis pregnancy centers that offer help and hope to abortion-minded mothers, “as there than a dozen life-affirming agencies located within the Austin City limits.”

By: Mary Jackson

“I may be taking all the arrows right now, and we have endured vicious attacks, but pro-life groups are capable of this important work, and they will continue to do it,” Everett said.

Joe Pojman, executive director for the Texas Alliance for Life, hopes that message comes through despite The Heidi Group’s challenges with the state.

Healthy Texas Women provided care for 172,023 low-income women last year, a 30 percent increase from the year prior. Providers cannot provide abortions or have an affiliation with an abortion facility.

“The program has had sensational success in meeting the needs of low-income women,” Pojman said. “It has done far than Planned Parenthood was ever doing for Texas women.”

By: Andrea Zelinski

Not only did the court battle cost the state millions of dollars, but it also set back the anti-abortion movement by making it harder for states to pass certain regulations for abortion facilities without running afoul of the high court’s decision, said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life which advocates for stiffer abortion regulations.

Anti-abortion advocates had miscalculated the leanings of the Supreme Court, he said. Since then, he said his group has resisted the urge to support far-reaching anti-abortion proposals in the Legislature in favor of others they believe would survive a federal court challenge.

Pojman said anti-abortion advocates need to think long-term if they want to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established legal precedent protecting a woman’s right to an abortion. The long-time activist said he is not confident the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court is favorable to overturning Roe v. Wade — but it could be in a few years.

“We are telling our people that they need to stay focused on re-electing President Donald Trump because he has a track record of nominating justices who are possibly willing to take an honest lo at Roe v. Wade,” said Pojman.

By: Amy O'Donnell

Texas Alliance for Life is opposed to this budget amendment. “There are than 20 wonderful agencies in the greater Austin area that help a woman who has a crisis pregnancy with alternatives to abortion, including adoption,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Executive Director for Texas Alliance for Life. “We would have preferred the council spend the money to help low-income women utilize these life-affirming agencies.” A link to those resources is available here: PregnancyCentralTexas.com.