This should be a moment of triumph for Texans who oppose abortion.
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, Texas has passed every abortion restriction possible under current law.
Clinics closed. State money is cut off. Hospital rules dissuade doctors.
So why would activists turn against each other?
“It’s very unfortunate,” said Joe Pojman of Austin-based Texas Alliance for Life, target of an anonymous online political attack ad accusing him of ties to — gasp! — the Republican establishment.
For some Texas Republicans, establishment is now a slur.
“One of the worst parts of my job is to face this split in the pro-life movement,” he said, calling the ad the latest in a series of attacks involving differences over end-of-life issues, a Dallas-area Texas Senate primary and support for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
Houston-based Texas Right to Life took a more absolutist position in the last Legislature on when and how to take terminally ill patients off life support, opposing both Texas Alliance for Life and the state’s Roman Catholic bishops.
The groups also split along familiar ideological lines, disagreeing over whether to support some of the party’s veteran abortion fighters or more libertarian-minded Tea Party conservatives.
Texas Right to Life is not directly connected or named to the unsigned website bashing Pojman, joepojman.org.
Two calls to officers of Texas Right to Life at office and mobile phones were not returned Tuesday.
Pojman said the website appears to be designed by the same Austin company that has worked for several political opponents.
“I believe all the groups in the pro-life movement have a moral obligation to work together, and that’s the best way to serve vulnerable babies and patients,” Pojman said.
The website is “not all factually correct,” he said.
For example, the site blames Pojman’s group for opposing liberty-minded Tyler Republican state Rep. Matt Schaefer in the March primary, but the group donated to and endorsed Schaefer.
The website also criticized Pojman’s group for not coming to the aid of state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, a libertarian Republican more closely aligned with the party’s Ron Paul faction.
Texas Alliance for Life also ran headlong into Tea Party opposition by backing three-term state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, a doctor and author of past abortion bills. Deuell lost to Tea Party leader Bob Hall of Canton and remains in litigation against Texas Right to Life over radio ads.
And then there’s the split over three-term House Speaker Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican elected by a bipartisan consensus and facing re-election when the House convenes Jan. 13.
“We were skeptical, but we believe in results,” Pojman said.
“Straus is conservative and pro-life. Without Straus, we would not have passed the sonogram bill, defunded Planned Parenthood or passed House Bill 2,” the most recent abortion law.
He called opposing Straus’ re-election a “fool’s errand.”
If only we knew the name of the fool.