Whether abortion is believed to be good or bad, moral or immoral, good or bad, state conservatives should oppose the Texas Heartbeat Act.
That was the message Saturday afternoon from Nolan County District Attorney Samantha Morrow at the abortion justice rally near the Taylor County Courthouse. Organized by the Taylor County Democratic Party, the hour-long rally of nearly 80 people preceded the Abilene Women’s March in the city center.
Several speakers came to the microphone, including former Abilene Reporter-News editor-in-chief Terri Burke, who led the Texas ACLU for more than a decade before retiring.
Burke reminded the public – and the fifty or so counter-protesters across the street – how the Big Country is ‘tending the books’ to the abortion debate, starting with the landmark Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade in 1973, supported by a native of Abilene and then a graduate of McMurry College. Sarah Weddington.
âIt all ended with the Supreme Court ruling that a woman’s right to an abortion is implicit in the privacy rights protected by the 14th Amendment,â said Burke.
She said the other local link came to a new court on Friday.
âThe Biden administration’s lawsuit against the state of Texas was heard by Federal Judge Robert L. Pitman, former student body president at Abilene Christian University,â said Burke. “So the bookends keep coming, don’t they?” “
A conservative argument
But it was Morrow, the only elected Republican invited to speak, who might have appealed to a larger audience.
Elected last year and installed in January, Morrow is also the founder of Nurture Nolan, a local organization that supports children removed from abusive homes by providing them with essential and age-appropriate items to ease their transition.
âI consider myself a conservative because I believe in the sanctity of life and individual freedom,â Morrow told the crowd. “I believe in strict adherence to the constitution, even when I disagree with the outcome.”
Emphasizing his belief in limited government, Morrow said the government has no role to play in the private affairs of its citizens. She has expressed frustration that her Republican colleagues in the Legislature have passed laws that directly violate these conservative principles, exemplified by the state’s latest anti-abortion measure.
“The Texas Heartbeat Act creates a legal right for a person to sue another person, even if they do not have a personal relationship with that person, and even if that person has not directly harmed them in any way. either, “she said.
“This level of legal status does not exist anywhere else in the law and has never been considered constitutional, because it is ridiculous.”
Morrow said she viewed the law as placing an undue burden on defendants, while providing an unfair advantage to those bringing the lawsuit.
âWhile I have confidence in the Texas justice system and the members of the judiciary who are currently sitting on the bench to review and consider these lawsuits fairly, and to dismiss them as frivolous, it is going to take time. Time that our courts don’t have, âshe said. âTime that should be spent hearing child custody cases. But instead, a child is going to stay in a dangerous environment because they can’t make it to court. “
For those who feel uncomfortable with abortion, Morrow has offered them some food for thought.
“What if you have this feeling in your stomach and have a bit of a conflict because you think abortion is just plain bad?” Its good. This tension is welcome here, âshe said. âYou can feel uncomfortable about something and still believe in your neighbor’s right to choose what’s best for him or her.
“And you can believe something is wrong and take proactive steps to prevent it from happening without oppressing your neighbor.”
Instead, Morrow said Tories and Liberals could work together to figure out what makes abortion necessary for those seeking one.
âWe may disagree on what the right choice is, but we always agree that we all have the right to make the choice. We can be bipartisan on the issue of women’s rights, reproductive rights, âshe said. âThere is no reason why this should not be the great bipartisan issue of our time.
âBecause to oppose the Texas Heartbeat Act is to stand on conservative principles. “
Ronald Erdrich is a photojournalist and columnist for the Abilene Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.