McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — From the White House to state houses, reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday that there is no constitutional right to abortion had lawmakers split mostly along party lines.
This held true in Texas, a state with a trigger law that will take effect in 30 days and will make a crime all abortions in the state from the moment of fertilization, except in very rare cases.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott quickly issued a statement praising the high court.
“The U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children. Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life. Texas has also prioritized supporting women’s healthcare and expectant mothers in need to give them the necessary resources so that they can choose life for their child,” Abbott said. “Texas will always fight for the innocent unborn, and I will continue working with the Texas legislature and all Texans to save every child from the ravages of abortion and help our expectant mothers in need.”
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who is challenging Abbott for the gubernatorial seat in November, condemned the decision and urged voters to make their displeasure known at the polls.
“The Supreme Court has sent this back to the states, and our state’s current governor has outlawed abortion beginning at conception with no exception for rape or incest,” O’Rourke said. “The only way to overcome today’s decision is to win this race for governor.”
On the federal level, both Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz said overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case was the right decision.
“Roe was wrong the day it was decided, and it has been wrong every day since then. If you search for the word ‘abortion’ in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, you won’t find it. The Court at the time acknowledged that, and yet Roe created a brand new constitutional ‘right’ out of whole cloth,” Cruz said.
“Today, the Court has restored one of the core principles of our Constitution with this landmark ruling. This decision correctly returns the authority of states to decide the limits on abortion and will save countless innocent lives. I commend the Justices for not bowing to the vicious intimidation campaign waged by the radical Left. I join Texans in celebrating this historic victory for life and the rule of law,” Cornyn said.
On the South Texas border, Democratic lawmakers opposed to the ruling expressed concern for low-income women who do not have the means to travel to another state, and for immigrants who do not have the documents to travel.
“The Supreme Court’s opinion will have severe consequences for women across the country as they seek to make decisions for themselves. States across the nation will now be free to enact laws that criminalize and control women and their doctors, leaving many without access to the healthcare they need,” said U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat who represents Texas’ 15th Congressional District.
Gonzalez’s border district includes McAllen, but in November he is running in District 34, the border district that stretches east to the Gulf Coast.
His Republican opponent in November, U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores, who Tuesday was sworn in to Congress to represent District 34 temporarily until January, tweeted: “SOMOS PRO VIDA!! WE ARE PRO LIFE!!”
“The impact of Texas Senate Bill 8 foreshadowed the dangerous consequences of the extreme abortion restrictions this ruling will allow. The Supreme Court’s action today will force women and girls to carry pregnancies that were conceived through rape and incest and empower extremists to persecute people who suffer a miscarriage or high-risk pregnancy that threatens their life. The House has voted to codify abortion rights through the Women’s Health Protection Act, and the Senate needs to act with urgency to do the same. Every American should have the freedom to decide when and how to start a family,” U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat who represents San Antonio, said.
Rochelle Garza, the Democratic nominee who is running against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in November, told Border Report on Friday that she was “devastated” by Friday’s decision that came three months after the birth of her daughter. Garza is from the South Texas border town of Brownsville and in 2018 she successfully argued a landmark case that resulted in what is called “the Garza Notice” which requires migrant women in custody to be made aware of their right to an abortion.
However, now she said that right will go away for all Texas women when Texas’ trigger law takes effect in 30 days criminalizing abortion. At that point, abortion providers can be fined up to $100,000 for providing services and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
“We’re going to see more and more women die throughout their pregnancies and when they are giving birth. This is dangerous and to have Ken Paxton in this office is absolutely dangerous. Now that Roe has been overturned it’s going to go back to the states and it’s going to be incumbent on the states to protect the people who live within the borders and as attorney general I would be the last stand for Texans,” Garza said.
She added that given Texas’ strict abortion laws, she fears many women will go south of the border to Mexico to seek health care.
“No one should have to leave the United States to get basic health care. Abortion care is basic health care. It’s part of any woman’s pregnancy,” she said.
Paxton, a Republican, immediately tweeted his delight at Friday’s announcement and gave his employees at the attorney general’s office a state-paid day off.
“SCOTUS just overruled Roe & Casey, ending one of the most morally & legally corrupt eras in US history. Praise the Lord. Abortion is now illegal in Texas. And today I’m closing my office—and making it an annual holiday—as a memorial to the 70 million lives lost bc of abortion,” Paxton wrote.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa and Vice-Chair Shay Wyrick Cathey on Friday sent an open letter statewide to law enforcement, district attorneys, judges and mayors urging them not to enforce Texas’ strict abortion law.
They asked them to “use your legal authority and discretion to refuse to enforce the provisions of Senate Bill 8, Senate Bill 4, and House Bill 1280: all new laws passed by our extremist, Republican controlled legislature in 2021.”
Michelle Vallejo, a businesswoman from the South Texas border town of Alton, who is the Democratic congressional nominee for Texas’ 15th Congressional District, told Border Report that the Supreme Court’s decision should be “a rallying cry nationwide for Democrats and for people who have been championing women’s rights and access to abortion and women’s access to health care.”
She said she fears for low-income women so far removed from other state borders who are living in South Texas, as well as those without proper documentation to cross U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints.
“Without a doubt that is going to be a reality here for many women and many families in District 15. There is a Border Patrol checkpoint right smack in the middle to where women and families who do not have the documentation finalized to be citizens in this country are quite frankly land-locked where they have limited access to health care, limited access to the needs that they have in order to have healthy and safe families, healthy pregnancies and a healthy future,” Vallejo said.
Monica De La Cruz, the Republican candidate for Texas’ 15th Congressional District applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This is a sound victory for the pro-life movement and will save countless innocent lives in our nation,” she said in a statement. “I will continue to advocate for the sanctity of life and fight against federally funded abortions, a policy that President Biden and Washington Democrats support. America has some of the highest abortion rates and most extreme pro-abortion laws in the world, and it’s time to change that.”