As the reaction to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion overturning the landmark abortion cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey continues, two of Texas’ top Republican leaders—Gov. Greg Abbott and Speaker Dade Phelan—have been silent on the issue.
At issue before the court is a case brought by a Mississippi law prohibiting abortion. On Monday evening, Politico released a leaked draft of an opinion from the court that would effectively return the power to regulate abortion to the states.
Though leaks of this kind are largely unprecedented, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the document’s authenticity and directed an investigation to be held to find the leaker responsible.
While the decision—which is expected to be released in June or July—could change, that didn’t stop some of Texas’ top Republicans from weighing in.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said if the decision does ultimately come to fruition, it is a “great day for life.”
“Texas has already taken decisive action on this issue. Not only did the Texas Legislature pass the Heartbeat Bill that has already saved thousands of innocent babies since becoming law last September, we also passed the Trigger Bill, which I made a top priority last session,” said Patrick.
The “Trigger Bill” referenced by Patrick is House Bill 1280, which was passed by the state Legislature last year and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 16, 2021. It states that if the Supreme Court issues a judgment in a decision overturning, either fully or in part, the decisions handed down in Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the practice of abortion would be outlawed to the extent allowable under the new precedent.
“I am sure the left will fight to allow abortion in Texas. They will not win that fight,” Patrick added.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton shared the draft on Twitter and noted that he hoped the Court would return the question of abortion back to the states.
I hope that #SCOTUS returns the question of abortion where it belongs: the States. This is why I led a 24-state coalition in support of MS’s law banning them after 15 wks.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) May 3, 2022
The Republican Party of Texas even weighed in on the issue:
When Roe is overturned, the voters of each state will have the ability to decide if abortion is legal where they live and under what conditions. The RPT platform calls for the reversal of Roe v Wade and the abolition of abortion. To this end, it was a legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas for the 87th Texas Legislative Session to abolish abortion, and we supported 11 bills on the subject.
One of the most significant was HB1280, proposed by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione and Sen. Angela Paxton and signed into law by Gov. Abbott, which would prohibit abortion in Texas when the Supreme Court overrules, wholly or partly, Roe v. Wade. As a result, if the leaked decision is ultimately rendered, unborn children will be legally protected in Texas.
The party also encouraged supporters to donate to charities supporting pregnant women.
But while other GOP leaders have offered comments on the pending decision, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan have declined.
While Abbott’s Twitter feed has been active over the past few days, posts have ranged from promoting Travel and Tourism week in Texas to a recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, with nary a mention of the abortion news dominating headlines.
Similarly, the issue has been met with silence by Phelan. Neither Abbott nor Phelan responded to inquiries from Texas Scorecard for statements on the leak.