87th LegislatureState HouseState SenateBill to Ban Abortion if Roe v. Wade Overturned Passes Texas House

The bill's path looks clear, though the House slowed its momentum by leaving the Senate version in committee.
May 6, 2021
A bill to ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, known as the “trigger” ban, finally passed the House today. House Bill (HB) 1280 by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller) made it through with 81 ayes and 61 nays.

Specifically, a statewide ban on abortions would take effect on the 30th day after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the issuance of any other Supreme Court ruling that “recognizes, wholly or partly, the authority of the states to prohibit abortion,” or the adoption of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows state abortion bans.

The bill has a twin, Senate Bill (SB) 9 by Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), which passed the Senate and has lingered in the House Public Health Committee for a month today.

Had the House voted SB 9 out of committee and then out of the whole chamber, the “trigger” ban’s legislative roadmap to the governor’s desk would be much straighter. Now, Capriglione’s version must pass through the Senate, retracing the footsteps of Paxton’s version in reverse.

Dubbing it “The Human Life Protection Act,” Paxton and Capriglione filed their bills on the 48th anniversary of the seminal Roe v. Wade ruling.

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If implemented, it would punish abortions as first-degree felonies. Attempting an abortion without killing the child would be a second-degree felony.

The ban also comes with potential civil penalties of at least $100,000 per violation.

The bill makes certain exceptions. The accidental death of the unborn would not count as a crime, nor would ending the pregnancy to save the mother’s health.

The prohibition does not apply if the person carrying out the act “is a licensed physician in the exercise of reasonable judgment” and the pregnancy “places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless the abortion is performed or induced.”

“Medical treatment provided to the pregnant female by a licensed physician that results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death of the unborn child does not constitute a violation of this section,” the bill reads.

Paxton said she shares a personal connection to the bill due to the story of her own birth.

“My life began as a very unexpected pregnancy, but my birth mother chose life for me, and so I got my chance at life,” Paxton told The Texan. “This experience has given me a deeply personal perspective on the value of human life and human dignity.”


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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.