University Democrats host attorney

Quanit Ali

University Democrats hosted Jan Soifer, one of the attorneys who represented abortion clinics in this summer’s Supreme Court decision overturning Texas abortion restrictions, at their general meeting on Wednesday.

Soifer, a 1982 UT Law School graduate, was chosen to represent abortion clinics in the appeal for the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned 2013 abortion restrictions, also known as HB 2, this summer. 

Soifer delivered background information on the events leading up to the appeal of the law and her involvement.

“I was contacted not long before to see if I would be willing to serve as local counsel on the case,” Soifer said.

In her speech, Soifer continually emphasized the unconstitutionality of the implementation of the law and the weaknesses of her opposition in court.  

“We know it was unconstitutional ‘as applied,’ because it did stop all these abortion clinics from being able to provide services [due to the restrictions placed],” Soifer said.

After explaining the court case itself, Soifer explained to the students in attendance the precedence the case had set.

“It affirmed that women deserved dignity, respect and compassion in making their own decisions,” Soifer said.

Students who attended the meeting supported Soifer’s efforts to safeguard a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion. 

“I believe women have the right to choose,” English junior Bethany Offer said. “I come from a town where there is a lot of teen pregnancy, and most people don’t know that they can choose not to have [the baby].”

UDems chose Soifer to show their members how they can go on to influence the world and play important roles in politics.  

“She represents really well that a UT Law degree can really change the world, which is super cheesy, but it’s a great example of fighting for people’s rights and improving society,” said UDems president Ashley Alcantara, an international relations senior. “[She’s] really a great example for students in UDems to look up to.”

Soifer is currently running unopposed in 2016 for the 345th District Court in Texas, which covers Travis County.

While also managing her candidacy, Soifer will help register voters in Ohio, a major swing state targeted by both presidential candidates, for the upcoming Nov. 8 election.

“Each of the last three elections, my husband and I have gone to swing states to help with voter protection,” Soifer said. “With the restricted voter ID laws, they need help.” 

Soifer said she will continue to advocate for and defend pro-abortion laws and anticipates the need for more advocates as the debate continues.

“What they’re going to come up with, there is no way to tell,” Soifer said. “But there is a large minority group of people who feel strongly about this and are going to continue chipping away for women’s rights to choose.”