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The Strategy of the Pro-Life Movement: Legislative Options

Chris Maska, J.D.

Vice President & General Counsel

Texas Alliance for Life

Bioethics in Law & Culture Fall  2019         vol. 2  issue  4

The ultimate goal of the pro-life movement concerning the beginning of life is to end abortion and infanticide.  Abortion and infanticide are two forms of wrongful killing and as no society has completely ended wrongful killing, abortion and infanticide will not be completely eliminated.  However, through changes to law and culture, abortion and infanticide can be greatly reduced. When both law and popular opinion view abortion as wrong, there will be few instances of abortion and infanticide.  But just as murder is seen as wrong both in law and in popular opinion, but still exists, they will not be eliminated.

 

The pro-life movement has many vital components, which include: education, prayer, pregnancy help organizations, media, lobbying, and litigation. They all make valuable contributions to protecting life.  The main focus of this paper is lobbying for the passage of laws and the litigation that results from the passage of such laws. The other issues while critically important to reducing abortion are not the subject of this paper.

 

Texas’ pre-Roe abortion statutes have never been repealed but are inoperative due to Roe v. Wade. [1] This paper will focus on three legislative options which the Texas Legislature considered this year.[2] Each of which sought to change Texas’ laws criminalizing abortion.  SB 2160 would have aligned Texas’ criminal laws on abortion with the current Texas laws on homicide and assault.  This bill is a trigger statute that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.  HB 1500 would make abortions illegal once the heartbeat is detected.  HB 896 would ban abortions throughout pregnancy, require Texas public servants to ignore the federal courts, and would prosecute mothers for obtaining abortions.  Each of these bills will be evaluated as to how they can be expected to promote the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement.   Issues to consider are what would the bills do, can they be passed, would they be upheld by the courts and, if not what would be the consequences, and how would they influence public opinion. The analysis will begin with an overview of the legislative and litigation processes. Followed by an analysis of Texas’ pre-Roe criminal abortion statutes.

 

Legislation

 

Each regular session of the Texas Legislature, which occurs every two years, can be compared to a 110-meter hurdles race.  It is a sprint that lasts only 140 days and there are a number of hurdles that must be cleared.[3]  First, a bill must be filed.  It only takes one member to file a bill, but one probably wants a bill to be filed in both the House and the Senate.  This allows for two attempts to pass the bill.  Once filed, a bill will be assigned to a committee by the Lieutenant  Governor or the Speaker of the House.[4]  Assigning bills is a significant power of both of the officers.[5] If a bill is not voted out of committee, it will not reach the floor of either chamber.  The two principal ways a bill can be defeated in committee are: the committee chair refusing to set a hearing or a committee vote on the bill failing to obtain a majority.[6]  While a petition to discharge a bill from a committee can be attempted, this is a difficult process and, hence, it is rarely used. 

 

Assuming a bill makes it through a committee it has to be placed on the calendar of the House or Senate.  In the House, this requires an affirmative vote of the Calendars Committee.[7]  In the Senate, it requires a vote of 60%. [8] Once on the floor of the House or Senate, a bill can be defeated both by failing to receive a majority vote and  through a point of order.  If the Lieutenant Governor or the Speaker sustains a point of order, the bill is sent back to committee.  This might seem to be  only a minor nuisance, but due to the short legislative session, this will often kill a bill.   If there is no time to fix the failing bill, the bill dies. 

 

Once a bill goes through one house, it has to go through the same process in the other house.  If both houses pass the exact same bill, that is if the second house in no way amended the bill, the bill goes to the Governor who may sign the bill or veto the bill.[9] While both houses may override a veto by a two-thirds vote, due to the short legislative sessions, this is often not an option because, by the time the Governor has to veto a law expires, the Legislature is often not in session, so it cannot override the veto.  The legislative process in Texas is not designed to encourage the passage of legislation.  To pass legislation requires broad support for a bill.  There are many ways to kill a bill and only a short time to pass a bill. 

 

A special type of legislation is a constitutional amendment.  A constitutional amendment needs to be passed by both houses through the same process as normal legislation and win a majority of the votes of the people of Texas.[10]  The Texas Constitution has been frequently amended, but no constitutional amendments have been passed on the pro-life issue.

 

All of this is to emphasize, that passing legislation is not an easy matter in the State of Texas.  If public policy is to become law in Texas, there must be popular support, political support, and a sound strategy for navigating the political process and dealing with media challenges. 

 

Litigation

 

Once a bill has become a law, it can be challenged as being unconstitutional under both the state constitution and the federal constitution.  In practice, very few abortion cases challenging the constitutionality of a statute have been brought in the state court system.[11] The party challenging a statute gets to determine whether to challenge the statute under the state constitution, the federal constitution, or both.  The party challenging the statute also gets to pick which federal district court or state district court in Texas it will file the challenge in.  This often results in a victory for the party challenging the statute at the district court level.  If a party cannot win before its handpicked court, the party’s case is probably very weak.  Often the first ruling of a district court is on a preliminary injunction, which keeps the law from being enforced while the case is being decided.[12]  The standards for awarding a preliminary injunction are not as stringent as the standards for awarding a permanent injunction.  A temporary injunction may be appealed to a higher court, but this does not prohibit the lower court from taking action on the case.  The Attorney General of Texas is responsible for defending a state law that has been challenged.  Perhaps the same time a judge rules on a temporary injunction, the judge will set out a schedule for the case.  Both parties are allowed to conduct discovery to gather evidence for the case.[13]  Once discovery is complete, the case will be heard.  At the hearing, the parties present evidence and call witnesses.[14] The judge will often order the parties to present written closing arguments that set out the law and the facts the parties believe supports their position.  The judge then issues a decision as to the case.

 

A case that was heard in a federal district court in Texas will be heard on appeal by the federal Fifth Circuit Court, which is based in New Orleans.  This is a favorable court for pro-life legislation.  As an appellate court, the Fifth Circuit does not hear new evidence but bases its decision on the record from the district court, briefing, and oral argument before the court.[15]  A three-judge panel decides a case.  Once a decision is made, the party that did not prevail can ask for every judge in the Fifth Circuit to hear argument on the case and issue an opinion.  This is called en banc review.[16]  As there are currently 26 judges in the Fifth Circuit, there are times when en banc review can lead to a different outcome.  An appeal to the United States Supreme Court can be made whether or not a case is heard en banc.

 

Unlike the federal circuit courts, the United States Supreme Court decides which cases it will take.  A party cannot force the United States Supreme Court to review a decision of an appellate court.  Even if one or more federal circuits have held a type of abortion law to be constitutional and one or more federal circuits have held that type of law to be unconstitutional, the United States Supreme Court is not required to take the case.[17]  

 

All this is to emphasize that the judicial process is long and involved.  It requires considerable resources.  Ultimately, the only judicial decision that could result in generally making abortion a crime is a decision by the United States Supreme Court and that court only reviews the appellate decisions that it chooses to review.

 

Pre-Roe Abortion Laws

 

Roe v. Wade was a case about Texas’ abortion statutes.  All of Texas’ pre-Roe abortion statues remain on the books.  In fact, one of these statutes, the proto-partial-birth abortion ban was found by the Attorney General of Texas to still be in effect because it was not specifically overturned in Roe and the principles set forth in Roe do not require it being overturned.[18]  One of Texas’ criminal abortion statutes made performing an abortion a crime with a penalty of two to five years in prison.[19]  The penalty was doubled if the abortion was done without the woman’s consent. An attempted abortion was punishable by a fine.[20] If the abortion resulted in the woman’s death, the death of the woman was punished as murder.[21]  A person providing the means for an abortion knowing the purpose was held to be an accomplice.[22]  While these laws provide for felony penalties for performing an abortion, the penalties are significantly less than the penalties for homicide or assault, unless the woman’s death is caused by the abortion.[23]   These laws would go into effect if Roe and its progeny are ever overturned or a constitutional amendment is passed by the states that allow states to regulate abortion.[24]

 

SB 2160

 

Senator Paxton’s bill SB 2160 would treat abortion just like any other homicide or assault.  It does this by making abortion a crime under chapter 19 of the Penal Code, which governs homicides, and chapter 22 of the Penal Code, which governs assault.  There is a health exception, but this applies only if a life-threatening physical condition is aggravated by, caused by, or arises from the pregnancy that places the woman at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.  Further, the bill explicitly excludes from the health exception a claim that if a woman does not have an abortion, the woman will injure herself.  The bill also prohibits the prosecution of a pregnant woman on whom an abortion is performed or attempted.

 

American Practice: Not to Convict the Mother

 

The exclusion of the woman who has the abortion from prosecution is in keeping with American practice prior to Roe v. Wade.  There are just two instances where a prosecution against a pregnant woman was attempted and there is no evidence of a successful prosecution.[25]  This exclusion makes the law more effective.  If abortion is illegal, there will be very few people who know that a woman has had an abortion and fewer still whose testimony could lead to a conviction.  In many cases, it will be just the woman and the abortionist and his staff who could testify from personal knowledge that an abortion occurred.  Under SB 2160, each abortionist will know that if the woman ever repents of her decision to have an abortion that she can make a police report that the abortionist murdered her unborn child and face no possible criminal sanction.  How many abortionists will risk a murder conviction for every abortion knowing that the woman might turn him in at any time?  How much will abortionists charge to run such a risk?

 

Under current United States Supreme Court precedent, SB 2160 would be declared unconstitutional.  The Court held in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992):

 

The woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy before viability is the most central principle of Roe v. Wade.  It is a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce.

 

A state may not ban abortion before viability.  SB 2160 bans all abortions both before and after viability.  Any district or appellate court considering a law like SB 2160 today would be compelled to strike it down under binding United States Supreme Court precedent. 

 

Trigger Ban

 

SB 2160 is a trigger bill.  By its own terms, it will only go into effect if Roe v. Wade and its progeny are overturned by a decision of the United States Supreme Court or the passage of a constitutional amendment which in whole or in part allows states to prohibit abortion.  A trigger ban serves several important purposes.  It prohibits the abortion industry from obtaining judicial victories enjoining the law, which creates pro-abortion precedent.  It prevents pro-life legislators and activists from becoming discouraged.  It keeps our tax dollars from funding pro-abortion law firms.

 

When the Supreme Court overturned several protective Texas laws in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, it not only prohibited the laws from being enforced, it changed the standards courts will apply in abortion cases to make it easier for the pro-abortion side to prevail.[26] A risk is run whenever pro-life issues are brought before courts.

 

Judicial victories for the pro-abortion side discourage legislators from passing pro-life bills.  Some legislators may well consider that taking political risks on a controversial subject is not worthwhile when the law never takes effect and is branded unconstitutional.  Judicial victories for the pro-abortion side may also discourage grassroots pro-lifers.  Some may think, why vote pro-life and contact legislators when the law never goes into effect because it is declared unconstitutional?

 

Further, judicial victories for the pro-abortion side can result in substantial funding for pro-abortion legal organizations.  For example, when the pro-abortion side won the case of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstadt, the pro-abortion lawyers were awarded $2.5 million dollars in attorneys’ fees.  That is $2.5 million dollars that will likely be used to finance litigation attempting to strike down pro-life laws throughout the county. [27]   When pro-life laws are ruled unconstitutional, our tax dollars subsidize the abortion industry.

 

A trigger ban is a useful expedient to create a law that will take effect when it will be allowed to take effect.  A trigger ban does not risk the political and public relations losses that come from courts striking bills down.  It does not risk subsidizing pro-abortion groups.  It does not risk bad precedent.

 

Results

 

SB 2160 is an ambitious bill that treats abortion for what it is: a form of homicide.  It did not pass the Legislature this year, but Texas is a state where such a bill may be passed.  The fact that Texas law enjoined by Roe currently makes abortion a felony makes the bill easier to pass.  It will not create a crime where no prior crime existed.  By passing SB 2160, Texas would clearly affirm that the State of Texas considers abortion to be a form of homicide.  When Roe is no longer the law of the land, Texas will have a strong and effective criminal deterrent to abortion. 

 

HB 1500

 

Representative Cain’s bill HB 1500 would make it a crime to perform an abortion after a heartbeat is detected. HB 1500 requires a physician to attempt to detect a heartbeat, requires certain reports and acknowledgments to be made, and provides for administrative penalties.  The legislative findings of the bill indicate that the heartbeat is a key indicator of whether an unborn child will reach live birth.  A heartbeat can usually be detected between  6 ½ to 7 weeks.[28]  If this bill were to go into effect and become a law, almost all abortions would be prohibited.  HB 1500 brings out an important aspect of abortion. Abortion stops a beating heart.  Because sonograms are now routinely used when pregnant women visit their gynecologist, this is something that is increasingly known.  

 

As this bill is not a trigger ban, it could be immediately challenged in the courts.  As it bans all or virtually all abortions, it would be immediately ruled unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Would the Supreme Court take the case?  No one knows for sure what cases the Supreme Court will or will not take.

 

Recent Supreme Court Action

 

However,  the United States Supreme Court recently decided not to take the case of Harris v. West Alabama Women’s Center, 588 U.S. ___ (2019).  The court of appeals had ruled the Alabama statute making dismemberment abortion illegal to be unconstitutional.[29]  This law would make a particular type of abortion illegal, but since other types of abortion could still be used, the law would not likely reduce the total number of abortions.  Unlike the three Texas bills addressed in this paper, the Alabama law would not be a blanket prohibition of at least some categories of  pre-viability abortions.  This is an important distinction because Roe and Casey prohibit general bans of pre-viability abortions. If an abortion law does not generally ban pre-viability abortions at least in part, it is judged under the undue burden standard.[30]  In Harris, the issue was whether the undue burden standard was properly applied, not whether the law generally banned pre-viability abortions.   Justice Clarence Thomas wrote an impassioned concurrence to the Supreme Court’s decision not to take the case.  Thomas wrote:

 

Today, we are confronted with decisions requiring States to allow abortion via live dismemberment.  None of these decisions is supported by the text of the Constitution.  Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 169 (2007)(THOMAS, J., concurring).  Although this case does not present the opportunity to address our demonstrably erroneous “undue burden” standard, we cannot continue blinking the reality of what this Court has wrought.

 

The only thing preventing the Supreme Court from granting certiorari in Harris and rejecting the undue burden standard as unsupported by the Constitution is a lack of five votes to do so.  If the Supreme Court lacks the votes to reject the undue burden standard that does not allow for outright bans on pre-viability abortions, it surely lacks five votes to allow complete bans of pre-viability abortions. It is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would take a case involving HB 1500. Clark Forsythe, Senior Counsel for Americans United for Life, reflecting on Thomas’ concurrence in Harris, has counseled prudence in deciding whether states should pass outright abortion bans at this time:

 

The court does not need an outright abortion prohibition to re-examine Roe v. Wade. The justices could re-examine Roe with any abortion law that arguably conflicts with Roe. That could include parental notice or consent, ultrasound, informed consent or health and safety regulations. The court re-examined Roe in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), neither of which involved an abortion prohibition. The justices might be more inclined to address Roe in a case with an abortion limit that is supported by a local majority, rather than a strict prohibition on early abortions.[31]

 

Results

 

If HB 1500 had become law, the most likely result would have been a preliminary injunction followed by a permanent injunction at the district court level, a loss at the 5th Circuit, and a decision by the Supreme Court to deny certiorari, which is a decision not to take the case.  More pro-abortion precedent would be created.  There would also be an award of attorneys’ fees to the abortion law firm that brought the case.  Some pro-life legislators would wonder why they took a controversial vote for a law that will not be enforced.  Some grassroots pro-lifers will wonder why they spent so much effort on such a bill. 

 

HB 896

 

Representative Tinderholt’s HB 896 amends the Prenatal Protection Act,[32] which makes it crime to kill or injure an unborn child but which had exceptions for the mother of the unborn child, lawful medical procedures performed by a health care provider, lawful medical procedures related to assisted reproduction, and dispensing a drug in accordance with law.[33]  Prior to the passage of the Prenatal Protection Act, it was not a crime in Texas for anyone who attacked a pregnant woman to injure or kill her unborn child.  Such an attack would be an assault on a woman, but the fact that an unborn child died or was injured was not a crime and would not result in an enhanced penalty.   HB 896 removes the exceptions for the mother, lawful medical procedures, and the dispensation of a drug in accordance with law.  It also prohibits Texas public servants from following federal court decisions, statutes, and executive actions that would be contrary to HB 896.  HB 896 is a complete ban on abortion.

 

Criminalizing the Mother

 

HB 896 explicitly makes the criminal penalties applicable to the mother of the unborn child.  This would make the law less effective because it would inhibit a woman who had an abortion from notifying law enforcement because to do so would be to risk prosecution for the crime of murder.  Under HB 896, abortionists would know it would be unlikely for a woman who had an abortion to testify against the abortionist. 

 

This change in the law from the standard practice pre-Roe of not prosecuting the mother would take the focus off of the unborn child.  Instead of the debate being about the humanity of the unborn child, the debate would be about whether Texas should be convicting scared 16-year-old girls of capital crimes.  Every legislator who supported the law and every judge who rules that the law is constitutional would be attacked as seeking the death penalty for frightened girls who saw no other option.  It is highly unlikely that this bill would pass the Texas Legislature and highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would use this case to overturn Roe and Casey.

 

Ignore the Supreme Court

 

Those who support HB 896 no doubt agree that the federal courts would soon strike it down.  To provide for this eventuality,  HB 896 provides that both state agencies and political subdivisions are required to enforce HB 896 “regardless of any contrary federal law, executive order, or court decision.” The governmental officials who preside over state agencies and political subdivisions are required by the Texas Constitution to take an oath before taking office.[34]  The Oath provides in part:

 

I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of ____of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.

 

Such an oath would seem to contradict HB 896.  But perhaps this solemn oath to God may not bind some public officials.  In that case, the federal courts have other weapons at their disposal.   For example, when a Kentucky official refused to issue gay marriage licenses she was assessed fines and when that did not work, she was sent to prison.[35]  Those who would uphold HB 896 in the face of federal action to the contrary would wind up bankrupt and in prison.

 

Results

      

If HB 896 became law, the results would to some degree mirror those of  HB 1500 becoming law.  The most likely judicial result would be a preliminary injunction followed by a permanent injunction at the district court level, a loss at the 5th Circuit, and a decision by the Supreme Court to deny certiorari.  More pro-abortion precedent will be created.  There would also be an award of attorneys’ fees to the abortion law firm that brought the case.  Pro-life legislators would wonder why they took a controversial vote for a law that will not be enforced.  Grassroots pro-lifers will wonder why they spent so much effort on such a bill. 

 

However, this does not fully set forth the full damage the passage of HB 896 would do to the pro-life cause.  Legislation such as partial-birth abortion bans, the Texas Prenatal Protection Act, and humane disposition requirements have changed the momentum by focusing on the humanity of the unborn child.  This is ground where the pro-life movement has showed it can prevail.  HB 896 would change the entire focus of the debate.   Pro-lifers will be viewed as those who want to execute scared young women. 

 

Ironically, HB 896 is supported by those who anoint only themselves with the term “Abolitionist.”  Instead of recognizing that the strategic disputes within the pro-life movement are disputes between those who are sincerely seeking to end abortion, the Abolitionists believe they are the only ones who want to end abortion.  According to the Abolitionists, anyone who does not support HB 896 is supporting abortion.[36]  In military terms, this is like saying anyone who wants to outflank the enemy and cut them off from supplies and reinforcements instead of engaging on a frontal assault against the enemy’s long prepared defensive position is in favor of the enemy.  While no one doubts the “Abolitionists” want to end abortion, they do not seem likely to succeed.

 

Conclusion

 

In deciding on what bills to attempt to pass, pro-lifers must think strategically.  There is not one magical pro-life bill that must be heard by the Supreme Court and will, when the Supreme Court removes all injunctions against, it stands forever as the perfect pro-life statute.   Pro-lifers must consider what is possible to pass and what has a chance of making it through the courts.  Both legislation and litigation are difficult processes. There are risks involved with every strategy.   Sometimes a frontal assault is warranted, at other times a flanking maneuver is appropriate.  No one knows how the abortion regime will fall.  While one should support the strategy one thinks is best, one should always know others who follow different strategies often seek the end of abortion as much as you do.  Humility is not weakness, but a recognition of our limited abilities to know what will truly foster a culture of life.

_______________________

[1] Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

[2] Full disclosure: the author of this paper is the Vice-President of Texas Alliance for Life which during the last legislative session supported SB 2160, and neither supported nor opposed HB 1500 and HB 896.  Taking no position on bills that one thinks may be strategic mistakes can be a matter humility.  No one knows what law will be used by the Supreme Court to strike down Roe and Casey

[3] The Texas Legislature meets once every two years.  Tex. Const. art. III, sec. 5(a).  A regular session of the Legislature convenes on the second Tuesday in January of each odd numbered year and runs 140 days.  Tex. Gov’t Code sec. 301.001.  The 140 days is further limited because barring emergency matters or an 80% super majority vote, the first 60 days of the Legislature are devoted to filing bills and committee hearings.   Tex. Const. art. III, sec. 5.

[4] A bill must be referred to a committee and cannot be voted on by the House or Senate until it is reported out by the committee.  Tex. Const. art. III, sec, 37.

[5] Tex. House Rule 1, Sec.4, Tex. Senate Rule 7.06.

[6] Each committee chair has the power to bring bills before the committee. Tex. Gov’t Code sec. 301.014(b).  Tex. House Rule 4, Sec. 6 (3).   

[7] Texas House Rule 3, sec. 4 and Rule 6, sec. 7, Texas Senate Rule 11.15.

[8] Texas Senate Rule 8.02.

[9] Texas Constitution art IV, sec. 14.

[10] Texas Constitution art. XVII.

[11] Few beginning of life cases concerning the constitutionality of statutes have been heard in the Texas state courts.  Bell v. Low Income Women of Texas, 95 S.W. 3d 253 (Tex. 2002)( Texas Supreme Court found no right to abortion funding in the Texas Constitution).  Lawrence v. State, 240 S.W.3d 912, 917 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007  )(Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Court found Roe v. Wade had no application to the Texas’ Prenatal Protection Act, which makes it crime to kill or assault an unborn child inutero, with an exception for legal medical procedures.  Flores v. State, 245 S.W.3d 432, (Tex. Crim. App. 2008) (Court of Criminal Appeals rejects Establishment Clause and Equal Protection claims against the definition of “person” in criminal law to include an unborn child).   Estrada v. State, 313 S.W.3d 274 (Tex. Crim. App., 2010) (Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that defining “person” in criminal law to include an unborn child did not violate Roe v. Wade)   Unlike most states, Texas has a high court for criminal matters, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and a high court for civil matters, the Texas Supreme Court.  Texas Constitution art. 5, sec. 3 and art. 5 sec.5.   It should be noted that all of the Court of Criminal Appeals cases were appeals of criminal convictions, not stand alone facial challenges to statutes.  Because the pro-abortion law firms have lost the few times when Texas’s highest courts have ruled on constitutionality and the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals have not changed in judicial philosophy, it is currently unlikely that there will be additional challenges to legislation in the Texas state courts. 

[12] Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 65.

[13] Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Title V.

[14] Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Title VI.

[15] Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rules 10, 28, and 34.

[16] Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 35.

[17] The judicial power of the United States is vested in the Supreme Court.  United States Const. art. III, Sec. 1.  Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over only a few rare types of cases, its jurisdiction over most  cases is appellate. United States Const. art. III, Sec. 2.  The Supreme Court gets to determine which appellate cases it takes.  

[18] Texas Attorney General Opinion JH-369 (1974) (Finding Vernon’s Texas Statues art. 1195, which makes it a crime to destroy the vitality or life of a child during parturition of the mother, was still good law.  While this law makes a partial birth abortion a crime, it would also make it a crime to kill a child who is being delivered by other means than the partial birth abortion procedure.)

[19] Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes art. 1191

[20] Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes  art. 1193

[21] Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes art. 1194

[22] Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes  art. 1192

[23] In Texas, the penalties for homicide include death and life in prison.  Tex. Penal Code sec. 12.31 and 19.03. The penalties  for assault include up to 99 years in prison for a first degree felony and 20 years in prison of a second degree felony.   Tex. Penal  Code  secs. 22.01, 22.02, 12.32, 12.33,

[24] For a good general analysis of this issue, see Paul Benjamin Linton, The Legal Status of Abortion in the States if Roe v. Wade is Overruled, 23 Issues in Law & Medicine 3 (2007).  For a Texas specific analysis, see Paul Benjamin Linton, Abortion Under State Constitutions, Second Edition, pp 506-518,  Carolina Academic Press, 2012.  This is an excellent resource that covers all fifty states.  The third edition of this work is expected to be issued early in 2020.

[25] The two cases are Commonwealth v. Weible, 45 Pa. Super 207 (1911) and Crissman v. State, 93 Tex. Crim. 15, 245 S.W.2d 438 (Tex. Crim. App. 1922).

[26] Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S.Ct 2292 (2016), Christopher Maska, Why S.Ct. Justice Kennedy Cannot be Trusted (and Never Should Have Been).  http://www.texasallianceforlife.org/why-supreme-court-justice-kennedy-cannot-be-and-never-should-have-been-trusted-2.

[27] “Unconstitutional anti-abortion laws cost Texas another $2.5 million,” Houston Chronicle, Sept. 23, 2019.

[28] “Concerns Regarding Early Fetal Development,” American Pregnancy Association https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/early-fetal-developement/

[29] West Alabama Women’s Center, 900 F.3d 1310 (11th Cir. 2018).

[30] Under Roe and Casey, a ban of all abortions one week prior to viability would be unconstitutional, while a ban of one of multiple methods of abortion to be used before viability would be judged under the undue burden standard.

[31] Clark Forsythe, “The Smart Way to Overturn Roe v. Wade.” Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2019.

[32] SB 319, 78th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature.  This law also provides for civil penalties against those who kill or injure unborn children.  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code secs. 71.001(3) and (4), 71.003, and 71.0055.

[33] Tex. Penal Code secs. 19.06 and 22.12. 

[34] Texas Constitution art. 16, sec. 1.

[35] “Ky. clerk’s face will issue marriage licenses Friday- without the clerk,” The (Louisville KY.) Courier-Journal Mike Wynn and Chris Kenning, Sept. 4, 2015.  

[36] http://www.texasallianceforlife.org/representative-jeff-leach-a-pro-life-champion/ Concerning  verbal attacks on solidly a pro-life member of the legislature who did not support HB 896.