Texas Bans Abortions After Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Protects Babies From Conception

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 27, 2022   |   11:40AM   |   Austin, Texas

Texas was the first state to successfully ban abortions before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It’;s heartbeat law prohibited abortions after 6 weeks and included a private enforcement mechanism to avoid being overturned in court.

Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,what will happen in the Lone Star state now?

The good news for women and unborn children in Texas is that there are multiple laws that come into play to protect babies from abortions, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

First, the heartbeat law is still in effect. Secondly, the pre-Roe law that banned abortions — the one that went to the Supreme Court in 1973 and resulted in the Roe v. Wade decision — is now in effect and it is currently banning abortions, protecting babies from conception. And third, a trigger law that the Texas legislature passed to ensure abortions are banned once the Supreme Court overturned Roe, will go into effect in 30 days.

Paxton spelled out the complicated situation of pro-life laws in a lengthy statement.

Texans want to know what to expect now that Roe is overturned. The answer is that without further action by the Texas Legislature, abortion will soon be clearly illegal in Texas. In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed the Human Life Protection Act of 2021 (“the Act”), which prohibits abortions in most circumstances and takes effect on the 30th day after “issuance of a United States Supreme Court judgment in a decision overruling, wholly or partly, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), as modified by Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), thereby allowing the states of the United States to prohibit abortion.”1

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Today, the Court issued its opinion reversing Roe, but it has yet to issue its judgment. A judgment is a legal document distinct from the Court’s opinion. The Court will issue its judgment only after the window for the litigants to file a motion for rehearing has closed. A judgment can issue in about a month, or longer if the Court considers a motion for rehearing. So while it is clear that the Act will take effect, we cannot calculate exactly when until the Court issues its judgment. My office will publicly announce an effective date for the Act as soon as possible—and we look forward to doing so.

Upon taking effect, the Act provides that a person “may not knowingly perform, induce, or attempt an abortion” except under limited circumstances, such as a lifethreatening
condition to the mother caused by the pregnancy.2 A person who violates the Act commits a first-degree felony if an unborn child dies as a result3 and incurs

civil penalties of not less than $100,000 for each violation.4 My office is specifically authorized to pursue and recover those civil penalties, and I will strictly enforce this
law. Further, we will assist any local prosecutor who pursues criminal charges.5 Additionally, state licensing authorities are required to revoke any applicable license
or permit of a health care professional who performs or attempts to perform an abortion in violation of the Act.

What’s more, some prosecutors may choose to immediately pursue criminal prosecutions based on violations of Texas abortion prohibitions predating Roe that were never repealed by the Texas Legislature.7 Although these statutes were unenforceable while Roe was on the books, they are still Texas law. Under these pre-Roe statutes, abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today.

Texas law in a post-Roe world has already been written. Now that the Supreme Court has finally overturned Roe, I will do everything in my power to protect the unborn and uphold the state laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature.

In addition, Paxton confirmed on Twitter that “abortion is now illegal in Texas,” the decision to prosecute abortion-related crimes will likely fall to district attorneys.

Some DAs are threatening to not prosecute illegal abortions, but the trigger law gives Paxton the power to enforce the law. Under Texas’s trigger law, which will go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues its official judgment in the case overturning Roe, Paxton could override local district attorneys and go after abortion businesses and abortion funds.

And although Paxton can’t prosecute abortion practitioners under the law on his own, he can seek civil penalties of up to $100,000 per abortion.

Texas abortion businesses have confirmed they have stopped killing babies in abortions.

As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 5-4 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. “That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’”

Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. Today, Mississippi became the 10th.

Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

This is a landmark day for the Pro-Life movement and our entire nation. After staining the moral fabric of our country for nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade is no more.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.

Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion.