The state of Texas is in a state of confusion as to what the actual law is over abortion — made only more dubious by a decision its high court just handed down.
On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling from earlier this week giving clinics/docs there the green light to continue carrying out abortions up to the 6-week mark — allowing women a last-minute chance to get abortions before the state’s trigger law goes into effect at the end of July … which will outlaw most instances of abortion, period.
The reason the lower court even had to weigh in on this now is because pro-choice advocates sued the state after TX AG Ken Paxton effectively tried accelerating the trigger law date to right now … via a loophole in an ancient Texas law from 1925 as his justification.
The 1925 law and the forthcoming trigger law are separate, but essentially enforce the same thing … a woman cannot get an abortion in Texas, unless having the baby threatens her life.
Paxton apparently didn’t wanna wait until the end of July for the trigger law to go into effect, and publicly declared this week that the old law of nearly 100 years could, in fact, be applied today — both criminally and civilly — seeing how it had remained on the books this entire time. Before Roe v. Wade was overturned last week, it had superseded the 1925 law.
After the lower court banned this enforcement through a TRO, he filed an appeal with the TX Supreme Court — asking them to temporarily lift the ban … which they did late last night. So, as of right now, that 1925 law is in play in Texas — although, criminal prosecution for violating it is on hold at the moment, per the court. A hearing on this is set for July 12.
It’s a stark reality either way … any woman who was/is attempting to get an abortion in TX before the trigger law hits is now hamstrung with all these back-and-forth rulings.
Several other states’ trigger laws have already materialized … and when the rest do as well, it’s going to be a mess as women travel to neighboring states to get abortions … at the risk of prosecution. President Biden warned of this just yesterday, saying arrests will happen.
In other words, this is far from over … and the ramifications are going to be felt for a while, at least until the next couple election cycles — when would-be elected officials could do something to reverse SCOTUS’ decision by codifying abortion rights through legislation.
Even that, though, isn’t guaranteed at this point.