Texas Enforces Ancient Abortion Law After Roe V. Wade Decision

Texas Enforces Ancient Abortion Law After Roe V. Wade Decision

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The Texas Supreme Court is dialing the clock way back.

On June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade in a landmark decision, revoking women of the nearly 50-year-old right to choose. The decision has garnered emotional reactions on both sides of the debate, and now many states are left in turmoil, scrambling to either cement abortions as state law or to outlaw the practice altogether.

Many Republican states have trigger laws in the books, meaning laws prohibiting abortions that would go into effect automatically when Roe was struck down. One of these states is Texas, but apparently its Republican government can’t wait until the end of July—when the trigger law would go into effect—to outlaw abortions. On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision that clinics could continue abortions until the trigger law went into effect.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton worked to accelerate the trigger law by pointing to a loophole in an old Texas law from 1925 which prohibited abortions. According to Paxton’s argument, the nearly 100-year-old law could be applied today since it had remained in the books through the Roe period and had simply been superseded by the Supreme Court decision in 1973. Pro-choice advocates sued, and a lower court sided with them, but now the state’s Supreme Court has decided to the contrary.

“Pro-life victory!” Paxton wrote on Twitter after the ruling. “Thanks to my appeal, SCOTX has slapped down the abortion providers and the district court carrying their water. Our state’s pre-Roe statutes banning abortion in Texas are 100% good law. Litigation continues, but I’ll keep winning for Texas’s unborn babies.”

Criminal prosecution against anyone receiving an abortion is still on hold, according to the court, but seems to be on the way. In response to the ruling, the ACLU wrote, “This law has already forced countless people to carry pregnancies against their will. Abortion is our right– no matter what the courts say.”


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