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—but also by a “pro-life” group. Their excuse was that they didn’t think it was a fight Texas could win. They were inexcusably wrong.

In a hyperbolic memo sent to legislators on March 31, 2017, the executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, Joe Pojman, declared with absolute certainty that the bills “Will Not Survive a Federal Court Challenge” (his capitalization).

Pojman explained that his lawyer, Paul Linton, had written two legal memoranda concluding that “unquestionably” the courts would strike down any ban on dismemberment abortions.

Wow … TWO whole legal memoranda. And … “unquestionably,” he said.

A month before that memo, Pojman gave condescending testimony to the Senate that year—testifying “on” the dismemberment ban rather than “for” or “against” it. But no one was fooled; he was arguing from a position of cowardice, waving a “white flag” on the very issue his organization claimed to champion.

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 both. Pojman and Linton, listening to the state’s bold, pro-life majority. The language of the “dismemberment” ban was amended to 2017’s omnibus pro-life measure Senate Bill 8, setting it to take effect on September 1 of that year.

For a time, the Pojman plea for legislative cowardice seemed prudent. A leftwing federal judge in Austin blocked implementation of the law—specifically the portion banning dismemberment abortions. 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.

Now, it is entirely possible the U.S. Supreme Court might eventually decide differently. But it is also entirely possible the Supreme Court will side with the Fifth Circuit, the Texas Legislature, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Paxton, real pro-life Texans, 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.

All too often in the legislative process people with Ph.D.’s and J.D.’s will wave around white papers, condescendingly urge 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. 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. In public policy, the grassroots can have political agendas imposed upon them—or the grassroots can be the ones imposing the agenda.

Yes, there will always be “reasonable” men who consider invitations to haughty cocktail parties more important than fighting for principles. They should be called out, and then ignored.

There will always be people with pedigrees who will push the grassroots to stand down from a fight today in exchange for the ill-defined promise of “future success.” Those people 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.

Cowardice is always a killer. Victory is found only in boldly fighting forward.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."