Abortion has always been a hot-button political issue in Texas, where state legislators have taken great efforts to restrict or outlaw most abortions whenever possible. The United States Supreme Court issued a legal decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson in June of 2022. This ruling reversed the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed women the right to terminate a pregnancy during the first four months of the pregnancy. With this new decision on the books, the ability for women to have a safe, legal abortion in Texas is at risk
The Texas legislature has already passed what is known as a “trigger law,” which is designed to go into effect to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Under the law, which is set to go into effect before August 1, 2022, anyone performing or assisting with abortion would be guilty of a felony punishable by prison time. Texas news organizations have reported that abortions have come to a halt in Texas already, with doctors fearing criminal liability for performing abortions even before the trigger law goes into effect.
Although the advocates for the trigger law argued that it was not designed to punish women seeking an abortion, and only doctors performing one, the language of the law could be amended to allow women to be prosecuted for assisting in their own abortion. Although nobody has been charged under this law yet, once it goes into full effect, many Texas healthcare providers may be at risk of criminal liability.