At the time, the anti-abortion case was primarily a Catholic affair, and it was strongest in northern states with large Catholic populations.
Evangelicals, dominant in the South, were largely moderate on the issue, generally opposed to abortion on demand, but were open to some exceptions. A 1969 poll by the Baptist Standard found that 90 percent of Texas Baptists found the state’s abortion laws too restrictive. W. A. Criswell, a prominent Southern Baptist minister in Dallas and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented in response to Roe v. Wade, “I’ve always felt like it was only after a child was born and had a life had been separated from its mother that it became an individual person.” (By the late 1970s, however, Mr. Criswell was against abortion rights.)
Over the decades, Texans continued to elect senators who favored abortion rights into the early 21st century. But by this time, the anti-abortion movement had become a powerful force in evangelical culture.
And the state, once firmly in Democratic hands, fell to Republicans in the mid-1990s. Since 2003, Republicans have held the majority in both chambers of the state legislature and in the governor’s office. It also falls under a conservative federal appeals court called the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana.
Like many other states in the South and Midwest, Texas has been steadily breaking down legal and practical access to abortion for decades, including requiring pregnant women to have an ultrasound — by the same doctor who will perform the abortion — at least 24 hours before delivery. . procedure. Other measures, such as the Alternatives to Abortion program, have helped fund maternity centers like Prestonwood, which was founded three decades ago as a ministry of Prestonwood Baptist Church, a nearby evangelical megachurch.
By contrast, there are about 24 abortion clinics in Texas, less than 40 less than a decade ago, an imbalance with the dozens of pregnancy centers like Prestonwood, which speaks of the cultural and political success of the anti-abortion movement even as the state becomes largest and bluest cities. bigger and more progressive. The number of abortion clinics is sure to fall further, abortion rights advocates said, as many will be forced to close if the new law remains in effect.
In an emergency filing asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, a coalition of abortion providers warned that the law — which bans abortions when heart activity is detected, usually about six weeks, when many women do not yet know they are pregnant — ” would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas.” Clinics rushed to see clients until the law went into effect last week.