Today, Texas Right to Life filed a brief of amici curiae, or a “friend of the court” brief, in the case Zimmerman v. City of Austin. Twenty-five other organizations and individuals joined Texas Right to Life in the brief supporting Pro-Life Austin businessman Don Zimmerman. Zimmerman is petitioning the Texas Supreme Court (SCOTX) to hear this key Pro-Life case regarding whether the City of Austin may legally use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion-assistance organizations.
If considered by the court, this case has the potential to broadly affect not only the ability of local governments to indirectly fund the abortion industry, but also the force and effect of Texas’s pre-Roe v. Wade abortion prohibitions.
Zimmerman filed suit against the city in 2019, after Austin City Council responded to the Texas Legislature’s passage of SB 22 preventing them from directly funding abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood by allocating $150,000 to organizations that pay for transportation, lodging, and other logistics for an abortion appointment. Zimmerman argues that Texas still has laws on the books preventing any public money from funding those who aid and abet abortions and that Roe v. Wade did not enjoin those laws from being enforced.
Further, he argues more broadly that the Supreme Court of the United States in Roe v. Wade did not “strike down” Texas’s original laws prohibiting abortion because the court can only prevent laws from being enforced. Only the legislature that enacted the law can constitutionally repeal statutes, and the Texas Legislature has never repealed the state’s pre-Roe policies protecting preborn children from the violence of abortion and punishing those who perpetuate that violence.
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Authored by Texas attorneys LaDawn Nandrasy and Emily Cook, the amicus brief filed today by Texas Right to Life supports these landmark Pro-Life arguments, urging SCOTX to hear this important case. The brief instructs the court in detail on the continued existence and effect of Texas’s pre-Roe statutes, clarifies that any analysis of an undue burden is inappropriate in a case about public funds allocated to third-party abortion-assistance organizations, and reminds the court that the Texas Heartbeat Act, enacted this past legislative session, will prohibit the City of Austin’s conduct when the law takes effect on September 1.
Texas Right to Life General Counsel Emily Cook said:
We filed this amicus brief in support of Mr. Zimmerman on behalf of all Pro-Life Texans who strongly believe their taxes should not be used to promote abortion in any way, because every abortion takes an innocent human life. For the sake of the life-saving impact this precedent could set for innumerable preborn Texans, the court must favorably consider this case.
Texas’s Eighth Court of Appeals sided with the trial court in issuing a judgment in favor of the City of Austin. The Supreme Court of Texas must weigh in on this critical Pro-Life case in order to reverse the prior erroneous judgments and protect the lives of innocent preborn Texans.