When the Texas Legislature was considering a ban on dismemberment abortions back in 2017, lawmakers were urged to oppose the legislation by all the usual suspects – including also a “pro-life” group that didn’t want Texas engaged in the fight.
In a hyperbolic memo sent to legislators on March 31 of that year, the group’s executive director, Joe Pojman, declared with absolute certainty that the bills “Will Not Survive a Federal Court Challenge” [sic].
“Our Special Counsel Paul Linton, a respected national authority on abortion law, wrote two legal memoranda on HB 844/SB 415 concluding that unquestionably the Supreme Court would strike down HB 844/SB 415 on the authority of its decisions in Danford, Casey, Stenberg, and Gonzales,” wrote Pojman.
A month before his memo, Pojman gave condescending testimony to the Senate – testifying “on” Senate Bill 415 rather than “for” or “against” it. But no one was fooled; he was arguing that same “white flag” point.
“On the dismemberment ban, with due respect to the author, we do not believe it can survive a federal court challenge and we cannot recommend it to you,” sniveled Pojman, who also has a history of endorsing Republicans hostile to pro-life legislation as a way to curry favor with the crony establishment.
Pojman told senators that there was simply no way the courts would allow a ban on the gruesome abortion practice that saw otherwise viable babies ripped apart limb by limb. Pojman later said he didn’t want the taxpayers’ money being wasted on defending a loser-law, and seeing the cash funneled to the attorneys of Planned Parenthood.
Maybe Pojman really believed his faulty prognostications, or maybe he just didn’t want Texas being too bold in pro-life advocacy. Either way, he lacked the courage of the convictions for which his organization ostensibly believes.
As it turned out, the Texas Legislature ignored Mr. Pojman and Special Counsel Linton. The language of the “dismemberment” ban was amended to 2017’s omnibus prolife measure Senate Bill 8, setting it to take effect on Sept. 1 of that year. (Pojman’s memo to lawmakers was sent to House members ahead of them voting to amending SB 8 with the “dismemberment ban” language.)
For a time, the Pojman plea for legislative cowardice seemed prudent. A leftwing federal judge in Austin blocked implementation of the law – specifically the dismemberment portion. That case has been quietly winding its way through the federal judicial labyrinth.
Late last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the law its approval, clearing the way for it to finally take full effect in the Lone Star State. Babies will no longer be brutally torn to pieces by profit-hungry doctors serving the genocidal agenda of Planned Parenthood’s founder.
Now, it is entirely possible the U.S. Supreme Court might eventually decide to allow “the tearing of living human beings to pieces” – to use the words of Attorney General Ken Paxton in defending the need for the law. But it is also entirely possible the Supreme Court will side with the Fifth Circuit, the Texas Legislature, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Paxton, the people of Texas, and the moral righteousness of the law’s intent.
All of that is good news on its face. But this incident should serve as a broader reminder about the importance of ignoring the “pleas” for reasonableness from the bought-and-paid-for shills of the crony establishment.
As an aside, this is a problem unique to the conservative grassroots. Never do we hear leftwing activists told to “stand down” by self-proclaimed experts on their side. Never are their legislative proposals dismissed by claims of judicial survivability. This is, of course, because the crony establishment is in league in the political left. And because they understand the value of always fighting.
All too often in the legislative process people with PhDs and JDs will waive around white papers, condescendingly urging the conservative rabble to stand down on an issue. They will make expert-sounding claims about judicial survivability, legislative processes, and other governing complexities to inspire cowardice or sow confusion. And, all too often, activists get suckered in. No one wants to lose, so we censor ourselves and our activism. We let good public policy be sacrificed on the altar of legal reasonableness built by our opponents in service to a decidedly unholy god.
The fear of losing can be paralyzing. But here is the good news: none of us are called to be “successful,” we are called to be faithful. You may not win every fight you enter, but you lose every fight from which you run. Fights are won only by those who are fighting. In pursuing good public policy, the fight is always worth it. The fight is all that matters. We cannot be faithful to that fight when we allow our hands to be tied to our ankles.
This ruling from the Fifth Circuit, and its history, should be a reminder to mock anyone who urges restraint in the face of a principled fight.
Yes, there will always be “reasonable” men who consider it more important to be invited to haughty cocktail parties than to fight for what they allegedly believe. They should be called out, and then ignored.
There will always be people with pedigrees and experience who advise the grassroots to stand down from a fight today in exchange for the ill-defined promise of “future success.” They should be mocked and tossed aside.
Rather than be shackled to the political expectations of the establishment cronies, grassroots activists should disrupt the status quo by forcing all three branches of government, and culture at large, into the fight for a better Texas.
Whether it is banning gruesome procedures or eliminating burdensome taxes, the grassroots can have political agendas imposed upon them – or the grassroots can be the ones imposing the agenda.
Cowardice is always a killer. Victory is found only in boldly fighting forward.