In 1854, Texas passed a law that made abortion a crime, and the state’s Penal Statutes made the procedure punishable by two to five years in prison. Many other states followed suit, but some still allow abortions. This article explores the history of the Texas laws relating to abortion.
Pre-Roe statutes outlawed abortion in Texas
The U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that guaranteed the right to an abortion, returning the decision-making power to the states. The state of Texas interpreted the ruling as a green light to resurrect a 1925 law banning abortion. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the decision on Twitter, saying “good law.” However, the case could still go back to a lower court later this month.
After Roe, Texas passed a variety of other regulations that restricted abortion. However, a 2004 ruling by the 5th Circuit declared the pre-Roe law invalid. In other words, the state’s abortion providers believe that the pre-Roe ban can no longer be enforced, and that this decision has overturned the law.
Despite the recent changes in state laws, the threat of civil action still exists. The state of Texas is still a “hostile” state, which means that it’s difficult to sue abortion providers without first receiving a criminal conviction.
TRAP law makes abortion a felony
Opponents say the Texas TRAP law is a burden on both patients and health care providers. They argue that it forces abortion clinics to close if they are unable to meet the new regulations. This is an entirely valid concern; the Texas Supreme Court has already ruled that a similar law in Louisiana was unconstitutional.
The TRAP law also makes abortion a felony in Texas. This new law is not yet in effect, but the Legislature has passed a bill authorizing a statewide referendum to make abortion illegal. However, the bill needs to pass both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office before it can be put to a statewide vote.
The TRAP law was passed in Texas in 2013. It was passed after the landmark Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision in the US Supreme Court. While the TRAP law makes abortion a felony in Texas, the decision will continue to have a negative impact on access to abortion in Texas.
Exemptions from lawsuits
Texas’s state constitution does not provide any protection against lawsuits over abortions. Under the Texas Constitution, plaintiffs can only bring a lawsuit if they have suffered an injury. This means that a woman who has been raped cannot sue for the harm she suffered during her abortion.
One of the exceptions to Texas’s abortion law is if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. The state’s Senate Bill 8 would create a standard to determine whether the defendant intended to aid an abortion. For a woman who chooses to have an abortion after the embryo has developed cardiac activity, however, she cannot sue. While a woman may have the right to sue her doctor, abortion fund donors may be liable for assisting a woman seeking an abortion in Texas.
While these circumstances might be rare, there are still several reasons why a woman may need an abortion. In some cases, a woman may be suffering from an irreversible condition that will lead to severe harm. Other times, the doctor may need to perform an abortion to save the life of a woman.
Parental consent requirement
Texas’s Supreme Court is reviewing rules that allow minors to have abortions without their parents’ consent. Chief Justice Nathan Hecht has asked an advisory committee to make recommendations. The committee is scheduled to meet next week. If the committee recommends that the parents’ consent is not needed, the judge may grant a waiver.
Texas’s advisory committee recommended that abortion rights be maintained for minors. Minors may seek a judge’s consent to end their pregnancies, as long as they have a medical condition or are suffering from severe bodily impairment. Beginning Aug. 25, all but two cases of rape or incest will prevent minors from obtaining an abortion. However, in all other cases, such as those of a medical emergency or a serious bodily impairment, abortion remains legal.
Texas is one of 37 states that require parental involvement. In most cases, a minor must get the consent of one parent or notify the other. In other cases, both parents must consent. Some states also require a parent and minor to provide government-issued identification and proof of parenthood.