Texas is one of 13 states with a “trigger law” in place, meaning the state will ban abortion within 30 days. In Texas, House Bill 1280, which was passed in 2021, criminalizes abortion, making it a second-degree felony to “knowingly perform, induce or attempt an abortion."
If the unborn child dies as a result of the abortion attempt, an abortion provider may receive a first-degree felony. The only exception to the law is if the pregnancy would likely kill or seriously injure the pregnant person. There are no exceptions for rape or incest in the legislation.
A health care professional who performs an abortion in Texas will also be fined at least $100,000 and have their license revoked, according to the bill text. These punishments are for people who perform an abortion, not those who attempt to receive one.
The law is set to take effect in 30 days, but Texans were already subject to one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation: Senate Bill 8. Known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, it bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs around six weeks of pregnancy.
Under the act, private citizens can sue anyone who performs or facilitates an abortion after a heartbeat is detected. The law took effect Sept. 1.
"Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas has also prioritized supporting women's health care and expectant mothers in need to give them the necessary resources so that they can choose life for their child.”
In 2021, Abbott signed House Bill 133, which extends Medicaid coverage for at least six months after delivery or an involuntary miscarriage for pregnant Texans. In addition, the statewide Alternatives to Abortion program provides counseling services, housing support and resources — such as car seats and diapers — to expecting parents, new parents and Texans who have lost a child.
During the 2021 legislative session, roughly $100 million was invested into the program.
Republican officials and lawmakers lauded the court ruling. Alongside an advisory detailing the impact of the decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the closure of his agency’s offices, deeming June 24 an annual Office of the Attorney General holiday.
“We cannot forget the extraordinary violence that Roe and Casey unleashed on our nation,” Paxton said in his statement. “Because of those decisions, almost 70 million babies have been killed in the womb. ... Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them.”
Banning abortions was a major priority outlined in the Texas GOP platform, which was released following the biennial Texas State Republican Convention from June 16-18. Abortion is expected to be one of the primary topics discussed during the 2023 legislative session.
“The Republican Party of Texas continues to support facilitating adoptions and providing assistance to mothers in need both during and after their pregnancies,” said Matt Rinaldi, chair for the Republican Party of Texas, in a statement.
According to the platform, the party supports reforming the adoption process; protecting parents and pregnant college students from discrimination; and other methods to promote births.
Texas Democrats spoke out in opposition to the ruling, citing “[threats to] the reproductive liberty of millions of Americans.” Hannah Roe Beck, co-executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, encouraged Texans to act.
“We cannot and will not stop fighting. Make no mistake: Texas Democrats will not sit idly by as Republicans threaten the lives and liberty of millions of Texans,” Beck said in a statement.
On June 21, the Texas Democratic Party released its goals to regain abortion rights in Texas. The platform includes repealing multiple bills passed during the 2021 legislative session, removing waiting periods before abortion procedures and increasing access to contraception.