What the Texas “Heartbeat” Abortion Ban Means for Santa Teresa & El Paso

MEDIA STATEMENT: While we celebrate that the Heartbeat Bill is a huge step in the right direction, we are also preparing to see a dramatic increase in women who feel they have no other option than abortion flocking from across the state of Texas just 1/2 mile across the state line to Santa Teresa, New Mexico, which is what happened when Texas abortion centers were closed for one month last year in response to COVID. New Mexico is infamous as the “late term abortion capital of the nation” where there are no restrictions on abortion even up to the day of birth and for minors without parental consent. We are worried that the notorious abortion center in Santa Teresa where a woman was arrested last September may lead to the Borderland becoming the “back alley abortion clinic” for the entire state of Texas, which is why the Southwest Coalition for Life is more committed than ever before to rallying the community to help empower women and couples facing unexpected pregnancies to be heroes for their children with our free mobile ultrasounds and medical services.

Mark Cavaliere, Executive Director, Southwest Coalition for Life

Lots of big news just in time for my birthday tomorrow!

First of all, this morning Governor Greg Abbott signed the “Heartbeat Bill” which will ban many abortions in the state of Texas beginning when the heartbeat is detected, of which the consensus is around 6 weeks, although in many cases a baby’s heartbeat can even be detected as early as even 16 to 21 days.

Interestingly, however, there seems to be no enforceable penalties against abortionists for killing preborn children after that time frame. Instead, it will give people (except for the father of the child) the right to sue an abortionist for performing an abortion after there was a detectable heartbeat, with exceptions for children who are conceived by rape or incest, and allows abortionists to defend any decision to abort a baby older than 6 weeks.

Second, the Supreme Court announced on Monday that they will hear the case of Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban, which many are hopeful may be the long-awaited chance for the Supreme Court to reexamine and overturn Roe vs Wade. This is why the Texas Alliance for Life says we also need the Human Life Protection Act to be passed before the end of the current legislative session in two weeks, which would immediately make all abortions illegal in Texas if and when Roe vs Wade is overturned, without the need to wait for the next legislative session to hopefully pass a new revised abortion ban. 

Third, while the Heartbeat Bill is certainly a huge step in the right direction, this will also have a unintended and unavoidable side effects for abortion here in the Borderland … and we can look back one year ago to see what will happen.

In March 2020, Governor Abbott temporarily shut down all non-essential medical procedures in response to COVID for one month. During this month, we saw women driving from cities as far as Lubbock and Houston to Franz Theard’s last remaining abortion center in Santa Teresa, NM, which is just 0.5 miles over the Texas state line. On Good Friday 2020, even when churches were not allowed to congregate, there was a line of women wrapping around the building waiting for abortion. This continued until the NM facility finally closed for one month only when both the abortionist and his Nurse Manager caught COVID, from which Franz Theard eventually recovered while his Nurse Manager passed away.

While other neighboring states around Texas have abortion restrictions in place, New Mexico is infamous as the “late-term abortion capital of the nation” and has no restrictions on abortion whatsoever, up to the day of birth for any reason, even for minors without parental consent. 

This means that, in response to the Heartbeat Bill, we will undoubtedly see an increase in women who feel they have no other option than abortion, flocking from across the state of Texas to Santa Teresa, NM, which will become the “back alley abortion clinic” for the entire state of Texas. By proxy, the entire El Paso region could become an abortion haven for Texas women.

That is why it is now more important than ever before that we prepare for this influx by ensuring we can sustain and grow our full-time presence outside the abortion center with our new Medical Ultrasound Bus, medical staff, and outreach interns, as we will now need to network with pregnancy help resources across the state of Texas to which we can refer women from other cities.

To help prepare for this unprecedented need, our Father’s Day “Must-Dash” Fun Run & Walk for Life has become EVEN MORE MISSION-CRITICAL to ensure we can continue to provide free pregnancy tests, life-saving ultrasounds, and medical care to women who will feel they have no other choice.

In fact, just this morning our amazing interns and mobile medical staff were able to empower TWO women who had been determined to have abortions to instead choose LIFE for their babies! After leaving our Mobile Ultrasound Bus, one mom said, “Thank you for your wise words and advice, you changed my intention,” and the second said, “You were very kind and caring, thank you for listening, this was a beautiful experience!”

The discounted Early-Bird Registration for our event to help support this work ends at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, after which the registration price goes up, and leaves exactly one month for us to raise our goal of $100,000 to sustain this critical work.

Tomorrow (May 20) happens to be my birthday, which I used to keep secret and take for granted, but then I realized how blessed I am to even have a birthday at all, considering dozens of babies right here in our own community are robbed of ever being born.

Everyone deserves a birthday, so in lieu of a birthday greeting or present, please help me and my team ensure that more babies get to celebrate theirs in one of these three ways:

  1. Register for the event! Running is optional, and there’s even a virtual option if you can’t attend in person.
  2. Sponsor the event! It’s not too late to add your logo on the event t-shirts, banners, and goodie bags.
  3. Donate to the event! If you can’t participate or sponsor, you can help one of our participants or teams by making a tax-deductible donation toward their fundraising goal.

If you’ve never participated in this kind of event before, check our our Instructions Page which walks you through the entire process of how to have the greatest impact to help moms be heroes!

We are very grateful that God has provided this amazing opportunity at this crucial moment — and hope that you feel led to join us and respond generously.

Mark Cavaliere

Mark Cavaliere

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