Texas Gov. Abbott Signs Bill Banning Most Abortions in the State

On June 16, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation that would almost completely ban abortions in the state should the Supreme Court ever invalidate the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which allows for abortion in the United States. House Bill 1280, also known as the Human Life Protection Act, will take effect if the Supreme Court “wholly or partly” overrules Roe v. Wade or if a constitutional amendment ever allows states to ban abortions.

The law is what is known as a “trigger bill,” and would go into effect 30 days after a ruling invalidating Roe v. Wade or constitutional amendment allowing abortion bans triggers the new law.

Exceptions are in place if there are risks to the mother’s life or if there could be a “substantial impairment of major bodily function.”

The new law would make it a second-degree felony to attempt to perform an abortion. If the abortion is successful and the baby dies the penalty would rise to a first-degree felony, which could potentially lead to a life sentence. Besides the possible jail time, Abortionists could lose any medical license they might have and be subject to fines of up to $100,000.

Women who seek abortions are immune from prosecution under the terms of the law.

Since a constitutional amendment allowing states to ban abortion seems unlikely, the most likely way for the bill to become law is if the Supreme Court invalidates all or part of Roe v. Wade. In May, the high court agreed to hear the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That case involves a Mississippi law which forbids abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Roe v. Wade is at the heart of the case and all or parts of it could be overturned.

Many court watchers consider Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

“A favorable ruling would make Texas one of the first states to end abortions,” the bill’s author, state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Tarrant County) said.

Pro-life advocates were predictibly happy with the new law.