Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, June 27, 2022

Texas Abortion Providers Challenge Pre-Roe Abortion Law

From Texas Public Radio:

A coalition of abortion providers in Texas filed a lawsuit Monday against the state over a decades-old ban on the procedure.

The lawsuit seeks to block state officials from enforcing the complete abortion prohibition that predates the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

“Abortion services stopped immediately in Texas last week after the Supreme Court’s crushing decision, but we will fight to maintain access for as long as we can,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the organizations suing.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned abortion rights.

Currently, Texas bans the procedure after six weeks of gestation. But a so-called trigger law passed last year is poised to eliminate nearly all abortions. This latest law will go into effect 30 days after the court issues its judgment, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said could happen in about a month.

But in a memo Paxton issued after the ruling, he said “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pursue criminal prosecutions based on violations of Texas abortion prohibitions predating Roe that were never repealed by the Texas Legislature.”

Paxton made reference to a state law that, until the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, made performing an abortion punishable with up to five years in prison.

“Although these statutes were unenforceable while Roe was on the books, they are still Texas law,” Paxton said. “Under these pre-Roe statutes, abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today."

Read more here.

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