The Status of Abortion Law in Texas
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.
While prosecutors in some large Texas cities have already announced their intention not to enforce the abortion law, such a commitment is not binding, and providers may still face liability regardless of where they practice. And, of course, there are areas of Texas where prosecutors are likely to zealously pursue these charges.
To protect their freedoms, women (and men) in Texas need to know their rights, as do all healthcare providers. Although it may be difficult to find medical assistance in the state, abortions are temporarily permitted until July 12, 2022, because a temporary restraining order was issued against enforcing the trigger law. Once the temporary order expires, however, both women seeking abortions and their doctors may be subject to criminal prosecution or harassment.
Defending Against Prosecution for Abortion
Doctors in Texas now face criminal prosecution for performing or facilitating an abortion for the first time in nearly 50 years in Texas. If and when the state chooses to pursue abortion prosecutions, they will still be required to prove the elements of such a crime to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. If you or someone you care about is facing prosecution for any Texas crime, the dedicated criminal defense attorneys with Guest and Gray want to help. Our qualified Texas criminal defense lawyers can help you get any criminal prosecution behind you, and we’ll fight to keep your record clean. If you’ve been accused of a crime, give us a call to talk about your situation Contact our offices at 972-564-4644 and schedule a free consultation today.