AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Alliance for Life said thousands of Texans were planning to join Gov. Greg Abbott and anti-abortion activists at the Texas Capitol on Saturday, set to commemorate their first gathering since the end of Roe v. Wade.
“We’re going to celebrate, but also acknowledge that our work is not finished,” TAL’s Amy O’Donnell said.
Activists and elected officials on both sides of the issue are adamant that the end of Roe is not the end of their advocacy.
For Texas Alliance for Life, that means enforcing bans on unprescribed abortion pills and securing more funding for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program.
“Anybody who is illegally trafficking abortion-inducing drugs in Texas does face a potential state jail felony, it is a criminal penalty, and it’s just a matter of time until somebody gets caught,” O’Donnell said.
The legislature set aside $100 million last session for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides counseling, classes, and baby supplies to new mothers.
“Those funds go toward hundreds of pregnancy centers across the state who provide for the needs of women before birth and up to three years after birth,” O’Donnell said. “It’s very tangible support such as diapers, wipes, formula, car seats, strollers…helping them to get out of domestic abuse situations if they’re in it… and offering them the skills and the tools that they’ll need to parent well.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are pushing for exceptions to the abortion ban for Texans in extreme cases.
Sen. Alvarado has filed legislation to pry back some of the most unpopular facets of Texas’ abortion ban.
“I think it’s disappointing that the activists on the other side don’t see how this law calls for us to be a little more compassionate,” she said. For God’s sake, we’re talking about rape and incest. I would love for one of them to explain to me why that is okay.”
SB 122 would allow abortion for people impregnated through sexual assault, and would not require them to file a police report and obtain a conviction against their attacker. SB 123 would clarify that penalties do not apply to physicians who perform an abortion that they have determined in their “best medical judgment” is necessary to preserve the patient’s health.
“What does a medical emergency mean? We know that some doctors have been hesitant to perform an abortion even when the mother’s life look like it may be in danger,” Sen. Alvarado said. “We know that the law that Republicans passed was very extreme. It went too far. It didn’t take into consideration situations like rape and incest, and it certainly didn’t take into account how this would impact doctors.”
Texas Alliance for Life said they would not support any exceptions for rape or incest, or any measure that “weakens” the current ban. They do, however, agree that a mother’s life ought to be protected and would support further clarification.
Few Republicans have voiced support for adding in any exceptions to the ban. Yet according to public polling from the Texas Politics Project, 80 percent of Texans support allowing abortion in cases of rape, and 78 percent support it in the case of incest.