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Thomas More Society Brief Key to Upholding Texas Conviction for Murder of an Unborn Child

by Staff
July 6, 2010
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AUSTIN, Texas, ( -- The highest court for criminal appeals in Texas has upheld the capital conviction of Adrian Estrada, found guilty for murdering both 17-year old Stephanie Sanchez and her thirteen-week old unborn child, citing a Thomas More Society "friend of the court" brief in its decision. Representing the Texas Alliance for Life, Paul Linton, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, authored the brief. Mr. Linton also drafted the law being attacked by the defendant -- the Texas Prenatal Protection Act -- which recognizes the crime of murder for killing an unborn child, no matter his or her stage of gestation.

"We are pleased to have helped the Texas Alliance for Life and the people of Texas in this successful defense of the Prenatal Protection Act," said Thomas Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. "Cases like this one are a major step toward getting society to recognize that all unborn children deserve the full protection of law, not just those 'wanted' by their mothers."

Lawyers for Estrada argued that the Texas Prenatal Protection Act is unconstitutional, claiming that the law's protection of "an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth" violates Roe v. Wade.

Texas' highest criminal court, the Criminal Court of Appeals, rejected all these claims, holding that the Prenatal Protection Act "exempts the conduct of the mother pursuant to the principles in Roe v. Wade," thereby averting any clash with federal abortion rights. The Court concluded that, "By expressly defining capital murder such that one of the victims may be any unborn child from fertilization throughout all stages of gestation, the statute leaves no ambiguity as to what conduct is proscribed."

The friend of the court brief from the Thomas More Society can be found here. The written opinion of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals can be found here.

About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit

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