By: Kevin Daley

Texas’s experience suggests that overturning Roe v. Wade will not prove to be a seismic political event, at least as far as election outcomes are concerned. The muted reaction to the Texas Heartbeat Act, the beginning of the end of abortion in Texas, only emboldened pro-life elements across the state.

“The sun rose as usual. Life went on. And there was not a tsunami of opposition to that law,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., an aerospace engineer who now leads the Texas Alliance for Life.

Pojman told the Washington Free Beacon that his group viewed the Heartbeat Act’s enactment as a “dress rehearsal” for the possibility that Roe would be overturned, which came to pass in June. The ensuing weeks gave them a chance to fine-tune talking points and assess reaction from coalition partners.
The following months were all the more encouraging, Pojman told the Free Beacon. The alliance endorsed dozens of candidates in Republican primaries across the state, he said, and he did not detect any reticence or hesitancy from Republican lawmakers, an assessment shared by other Texas Republicans the Free Beacon interviewed.

“People running for office all up and down the ballot cannot be pro-life enough in the Republican primary,”

Pojman told the Free Beacon. “Our PAC interviewed dozens of candidates for Congress, the state house, and statewide elected office. It’s amazing. Virtually everyone is more pro-life than Mother Teresa.”

By: Katie Kindelan

Since 2003, Texas has included fetal personhood language in its penal code, which recognizes an unborn child as being an individual “at every stage of gestation.”

Amy O’Donnell, director of communications for Texas Alliance for Life — an organization that supports restrictions to abortion access and supported the law that added fetal personhood language to Texas’s penal code — said that under the code, if a pregnant woman is in a car accident and their unborn child is killed, the death could be prosecutable.

In Bottone’s case of contesting an HOV ticket due to a pregnancy, O’Donnell said that while she recognizes Bottone’s unborn baby as a person, she does not necessarily see it as a second passenger because of the “intent and purpose” of the HOV law in the state’s transportation code.

“Each code covers different areas of the law,” said O’Donnell. “Is it still an unborn baby in both situations, absolutely yes. We recognize that. But the purpose of an HOV lane is to carpool, vanpool or ride-share so does that unborn child currently fit within the realm of the law, not at this point in time in Texas.”

O’Donnell said this case in particular opens the door to what she described as a “slippery slope.”

“If we go down this road, if a passenger in an HOV lane that’s riding in its mother’s womb counts as a separate passenger, what does that mean for other passenger areas such as on plane,” said O’Donnell. “If that pregnant woman gets on a plane and we want to recognize that unborn baby in the womb as a second passenger, does she then have to buy a ticket?”

According to O’Donnell, the purpose of giving personhood to unborn babies in state laws is to “protect unborn babies from injury or homicide.”

“Life begins at conception and a body within a pregnant woman’s body is not that woman’s body,” she said. “It’s a unique being with separate DNA, unique fingerprints and, as such, it is very much a person beginning at conception and worthy of protection.”

Texas is one of around one dozen states in the U.S. that includes fetal personhood language in legislation restricting or banning abortion, according to Dana Sussman, deputy executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), a nonprofit organization that supports abortion rights.


Two of Texas’ most well-known anti-abortion groups — Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life — also say the state’s laws and more recent definition of abortion should not affect or inhibit IVF treatment, even if they include the term embryo.

“Abortion is, according to Texas law, causing the death of the child, who is a child of a woman known to be pregnant,” John Seago, president of Texas Right to Life, said pointing to a statute the Legislature amended a few years ago outlining what counts as an abortion.

“There’s also no such thing as an abortion outside of a woman’s womb, so when you look at what’s happening in the laboratory with assisted reproductive technology, that is not destruction of an embryo,” he added.

This language likely leaves IVF treatment intact, legal scholars told the Tribune. A district attorney could decide to try to test the issue by bringing a case against a fertility doctor, said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. But he added that challenging IVF doesn’t appear to be an area “ripe” for action in the anti-abortion movement.

Seago said Texas Right to Life has concerns about the “destruction” of “excessive” embryos, particularly in medical research, but the issue is not one of its priorities for Texas’ 2023 legislative session. Instead, its priorities include enforcing existing laws against abortion and providing more support for pregnant women.

Amy O’Donnell, a spokesperson for the Texas Alliance for Life, said the group had not finalized its legislative priorities yet, but said the group supported a law passed in 2017 requiring the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to post information on its website about embryo donations to other people to promote the option.

For half a century, abortion rights were rooted in the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War to guarantee equal rights to all after slavery. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a right to abortion, critics say women could once again be forced to reproduce — as were slaves. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias examines the argument. Warning: This piece contains video that some may find offensive. Videographer and video editor: Veronica Balderas Iglesias

By: Justin Boggs

Texas penal code recognizes an unborn child as a person, but traffic laws do not. Amy O’Donnell, a spokeswoman for Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group, told the Dallas Morning News.

“And a child residing in a mother’s womb is not taking up an extra seat. And with only one occupant taking up a seat, the car did not meet the criteria needed to drive in that lane,” O’Donnell said.

By: Camille Fine

Amy O’Donnell, spokesperson for the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, said that while the Texas penal does recognize an unborn child as a person, the Texas Transportation Code does not.

“A child residing in a mother’s womb is not taking up an extra seat. And with only one occupant taking up a seat, the car did not meet the criteria needed to drive in that lane,” O’Donnell told the Dallas Morning News.