What would a reversal of Roe v. Wade mean for the state of Texas?

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
What does a reversal of Roe v. Wade mean for Texas?
If Supreme Court justices decide to overturn Roe v Wade, these are the changes that it could spark in the state of Texas.

The leak of Justice Samuel Alito's draft indicating the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade was unlike anything that's ever happened involving the nation's highest court.

"It's an unprecedented leak," said Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston. "There's never been anything like leaking a full Supreme Court decision on a major, major case."

If the 1973 decision is overturned, which experts say would take place this summer, abortion rights would be left for the individual states to decide.

SEE ALSO: Chief Justice Roberts confirms authenticity of leaked court draft suggesting Roe could be overturned

In Texas, abortions would become a felony 30 days following a reversal of Roe v. Wade.

That's the result of House Bill 1280, which was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2021.

"Texas anticipated the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned and in the last legislature passed what's called a trigger law," Chandler explained.

If triggered, that law would make any abortion, unless it was required to save the mother's life, a felony in the state.

Performing an abortion under this law would come with a minimum fine of $100,000 per procedure, in addition to possible jail time.

The punishment would be handed down to the physician who performed the abortion, but Chandler says there could be instances where the carrier of the baby faces legal repercussions.

"There may be some cases involving medication abortions where it's the mother basically administering her own pill," he said. "At the time these original statutes were enacted, we really didn't have regularized medication abortions, so that's going to be a new wrinkle that's going to be added."

Chandler says Texas women hoping to get an abortion following a reversal of Roe v. Wade would be forced to travel to states like New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, or California.

"Oklahoma has basically shut (abortions) down," he said. "Louisiana, Arkansas, and those neighboring states also have strong anti-abortion provisions."

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