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Texas Republicans cheer end of Roe v. Wade, while Democrats vow to fight back in November

Ken Paxton.JPG
Eric Lee
The Texas Tribune
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on April 26, 2022.

Attorney General Ken Paxton declared on Twitter that he would be closing his office and “making it an annual holiday” in honor of the Supreme Court decision.

Texas Republican leaders celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday as Democrats vowed to fight back at the ballot box.

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision returned the issue of abortion access to the states, and due to a “trigger law” in Texas, the state will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilizations starting 30 days from the court's issuance of a judgment, which typically comes about a month or so after the opinion.

Attorney General Ken Paxton declared on Twitter that abortion is “now illegal in Texas” and said he would be closing his office and “making it an annual holiday.” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said the reversal of Roe v. Wade is "nothing short of a massive victory for life, and it will save the lives of millions of innocent babies." And Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi called it a “historic day which Republicans Pro-Life advocates have waited for a generation.”

Democrats were livid — and acknowledged their best bet to restore abortion access in Texas is to beat Republicans in November.

“The only way to overcome today’s decision is to win this race for governor,” Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for governor, said in a statement.

The GOP governor, Greg Abbott, issued a statement that was more understated than some in his party, saying the high court “correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children.”

The Texas Democratic Party’s co-executive director, Hannah Roe Beck, said in a statement that the decision is a “blaring five-alarm call to action” for November. Paxton’s Democratic opponent, Rochelle Garza, promised that if elected, she “will work to restore abortion access and reproductive freedom.”

Some progressives offered ideas for what Democrats could do in the nearer term. Greg Casar, the Democratic nominee for the 35th Congressional District, called for “immediate action.”

“We must immediately direct public funds and private donations to help people get abortion care outside of Texas, beginning in one month,” Casar said in a statement. “We must push all district attorneys and police departments to not arrest or prosecute Texans under these draconian anti-abortion laws. And we must fight like hell to expand the Supreme Court and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

Some conservatives in the Texas Legislature have already signaled they will prioritize legislation next year to block efforts to circumvent the state's imminent abortion ban. State Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, quickly responded to Casar's proposals on Twitter, saying, "We will not allow this in Texas."

"The left will surely fight to keep the abortion industry alive in Texas, but they will fail," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.