IN RE MARIA TERESA RAMIREZ MORRIS, AND TEXAS ALLIANCE FOR LIFE, INC. (Dissenting), where dissenting justices argued against the above opinion. They claimed the court should grant partial relief to the voter by directing San Antonio to hold the proposed charter amendment election in November rather than May.
Although the petition filed by Texas Alliance for Life garnered support from state GOP members, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the state’s highest court ultimately ruled that it doesn’t have the power to “stymie” an election. Further litigation would only be appropriate if the measure passes, the justices added.
“The power of initiative is reserved to the people, not granted to them,” Justice Jane N. Bland wrote in her opinion. “Courts must not lightly usurp that power. Our role is to facilitate elections, not to stymie them, and to review the consequences of those elections as the Legislature prescribes.”
What they’re saying: The Texas Supreme Court’s decision adhered “to our longstanding commitment to avoid undue interference with elections,” Justice Jane Bland wrote.
“Our team spent countless hours on research, we know we are well within our legal right,” organizers behind Proposition A wrote on Twitter after the ruling.
The other side: “We are tremendously disappointed in the Texas Supreme Court’s decision … despite obvious violations of state law,” said Amy O’Donnell, the communications director for Texas Alliance for Life, which sought the legal challenge, in a statement.
The Texas Alliance for Life, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as pro-life, sued the San Antonio City Clerk and the San Antonio City Council on Feb. 9, alleging the proposed charter amendment violates the Texas Local Government Code, which prohibits multiple-subject charter amendments. The single-subject rule requires ballot initiatives to address a single subject, topic, or issue. Of the 26 states that provide for citizen-initiated ballot measures, 17 of those states have single-subject rules. While Texas does not provide for statewide citizen initiatives, Texas law requires local charter amendments to include only one subject.
While she acknowledges that some women are going out of state for abortions, Amy O’Donnell of Texas Alliance for Life points out that real help is freely available to those who are choosing life for their babies.
O’Donnell, Amy (Texas Alliance for Life)O’Donnell
“We need to educate women about the vast resources we have available to them in Texas so that they know that there is help, that there is support, and that they don’t have to walk through an unplanned pregnancy on their own,” O’Donnell tells AFN.
As the state legislature goes into session early next month, she asserts that pro-lifers will “work to keep the gains that we’ve made and prevent our law from being weakened or abolished.”
“We’ll also continue to promote the expansion of the vast resources that Texas offers to women facing planned or unplanned pregnancies,” O’Donnell adds.
A bill has been introduced for a constitutional amendment to undo all of the state’s pro-life laws, and O’Donnell recalls a headline declaring that Texans would not even have a chance to vote on it.
Anti-abortion rights candidates kept control in most Nov. 8 races across the state. Republicans maintained their strong majority in the Legislature, top statewide offices remained red and the Texas delegation in the U.S. House saw all Republican incumbents and some newcomers in the GOP win.
“It shows that the pro-life message works in Texas,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. “It shows that Texas remains a pro-life state.”
Pojman said his organization was pleased with the results of the U.S. House races, and was glad to see at least one of the three anti-abortion South Texas candidates win. He added the results both for the U.S. House and state Legislature races indicate the Rio Grande Valley area appears to be an area of expansion for the anti-abortion movement.
There were some victories among candidates supporting abortion rights as 51 of those endorsed by Planned Parenthood Texas Votes won their races.