In Texas, the stage is set for a sequel to last summer’s political drama, a battle that engulfed the state and brought abortion into the national spotlight.
As pro-life groups celebrate the one-year anniversary of the state’s passage of abortion regulations, pro-choice groups are preparing to make up for lost ground in November.
Since Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 2 last year, 20 of the state’s 41 abortion clinics have closed their doors, according to Kaiser Health News. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas projects that just six or eight abortion facilities may remain after the second wave of regulation go into effect this September.
Abortion advocates have used these developments to fuel their most aggressive political campaign yet: a projected $3 million statewide spending blitz.
A new PAC, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, vows to support a roster of pro-choice candidates, including Democrat Wendy Davis’ bid for governor. In conjunction, Planned Parenthood has launched a new tax-exempt 501c4 group to channel its resources.
The PAC has gathered more than $1 million in less than four months and has set a fundraising goal of more than $3 million, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The other side hasn’t kept pace.
“This is a wakeup call for us and I’m sure for other pro-life groups,” Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, told the Chronicle.
As one Republican strategist explained to the Houston Chronicle, these outside groups “can focus on maximizing the pro-choice vote while Wendy stays above that fray.” Davis became known for her stand against House Bill 2 last summer.
Last year, House Bill 2 banned abortions after 20 weeks, required abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and mandated clinics provide emergency ambulatory services.
Sarah Torre, a policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, applauded Texas’ “basic safety guidelines” and routine regulation as measures that keep women safe.
“These are common-sense laws that, unfortunately, the abortion industry routinely and vehemently fights” Torre explained.