The Supreme Court abortion judgment is now official, setting off the 30-day clock for abortion “trigger laws” to take effect in Texas and elsewhere.
The high court issued its judgment in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Tuesday, paving the way for states including Texas and Tennessee to implement their trigger laws, which impose a near-total ban on abortion effective Aug. 25.
The Texas state law automatically bans almost all abortions in the state and was designed to be “triggered” 30 days after the Supreme Court issues an official judgment on Roe v. Wade, a formality that takes roughly a month to fulfill and is separate from the June 24 opinion, after which no appeals or rehearings can be filed. The action comes a little more than a month after the justices voted 6-3 in the Dobbs case, which allowed states to create laws severely limiting or restricting abortion procedures.
ABORTION FACES NEAR-TOTAL BANS IN SEVEN STATES ONE MONTH AFTER SUPREME COURT RULING
Following the Supreme Court’s September decision allowing the state’s six-week ban on abortion after fetal cardiac activity detection to take effect, at least some abortions presently have remained legal for at least a short period despite uncertainty over when the stricter laws would take effect.
The Texas 30-day trigger bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in June of last year imposes criminal penalties for providers who perform or aid abortions at all stages of pregnancy after fertilization. The law, known as the Human Life Protection Act, HB 1280, makes it a felony punishable by up to life in prison and a minimum $100,000 fine for each offense.
Once in effect, the law will prohibit all such procedures except in circumstances including a “life-threatening condition to the mother caused by the pregnancy.” It also provides exceptions in the event of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
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Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-TX) said the law was designed so “providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions.” Abortion providers challenged the interpretation of the law in court battles, though the Texas Supreme Court sided with the state’s argument that a 1920s-era statute that existed before Roe was enforceable.
The state’s more restrictive law is intended to work in tandem with SB 8, a separate law that allows private citizens to sue providers and anyone who aids and abets an abortion that occurs after six weeks of gestation.