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Texas Governor Promises to Grant Dying Teen’s Final Wish: Abolish Abortion

Greg Abbott speaks to fellow state officials and media

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) promised a terminally ill Texas teenager that he would make the 16-year-old’s wish come true — abortion would be abolished in the Lone Star State.

Pro-choice attorneys, though, believe they have the legal firepower to make Abbott’s vow to the dying boy meaningless.

Jeremiah Thomas told KXXV-TV that his world was turned upside down in April when doctors told him he was suffering from osteoblastic osteosarcoma.

“That was the day that, you know, shifted everything,” the Waco teenager said.

The next three months included chemo and radiation treatments. The boy suffered a collapsed lung and became paralyzed. Jeremiah was told he had only a 10 percent chance of survival.

Jeremiah’s ultimate dream would be to see abortion abolished nationwide, but he decided to ask Gov. Abbott to outlaw abortion in Texas and make that wish come true.

"If I can at least get it in my home state, I would love for that to be what I'm remembered by," Jeremiah said.

“I know that it must be difficult standing against a whole federal beast that forces abortion on us, but I think that we … could end abortion here and now,” Jeremiah also said.

Abbott told Jeremiah the Texas GOP was on his side. The state’s Republican Party voted to add legislation to abolish abortion to its party platform June 16. As far as the GOP is concerned, abolishing abortion will be a priority for the legislative session that begins in January 2019.

“Your wish is on the Republican Party platform and it's what we're going to be pursuing this next legislative session. That's to outlaw abortion altogether in the state of Texas, and so your wish has been granted," Abbott told Jeremiah over the phone.

However, the Texas Legislature does not operate in a vacuum. The Texas Observer reported June 14 that pro-choice attorneys filed a lawsuit challenging Texas anti-abortion laws approved by the legislature over the past two decades.

The U.S. Supreme Court shot down most of Texas House Bill 2 a couple of years ago. Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Women’s Health Alliance, the lead plaintiff in the HB 2 case and the new lawsuit, said her lawyers hope to use that precedent to take down a long list of abortion laws and regulations in Texas.

The suit argues that licensing, parental notification, waiting periods, ultrasound and other provisions in Texas abortion law violate women’s due process rights.

“Texas laws regulating abortion have proliferated over time,” the plaintiff’s attorneys argued in the lawsuit. “Abortion patients and providers now face a dizzying array of medically unnecessary requirements that are difficult, time-consuming, and costly to navigate — sometimes prohibitively so.”

“I think of this as an omnibus repeal,” said Hagstrom Miller. “There’s a new standard, and we can look at it to challenge a bunch of things at once.”