Criminal JusticeFederalHealthcareIssuesPro-Choice ‘Support Networks’ Sue to Protect Out-of-State Travel for Abortion

The Texas law prohibiting virtually all abortions unless the mother’s life is at stake takes effect Thursday.
August 24, 2022
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A coalition of pro-choice groups filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court to block enforcement of Texas statutes that prohibit helping someone procure an abortion in another state.

“Leading up to and immediately following the Dobbs decision, reproductive justice organizations, including Plaintiffs, were threatened by those who oppose a pregnant person’s right to self-determination and reproductive healthcare,” the complaint reads. 

“Agents of the State of Texas contend that virtually every activity of those who assist pregnant Texans to understand their rights and medical options is now subject to criminal prosecution.”

Texas law prohibits virtually all abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger or there is a risk of irreperable bodily harm if an abortion is not performed. Laws enacted nearly a century ago also provide criminal liability for those who help someone get an abortion.

In July, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the legality of abortion is a matter for state legislatures to settle. Fearing repercussions, many Texas abortion providers ceased almost immediately.

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The plaintiffs describe themselves in the complaint as “Texas based non-profit abortion funds and practical support networks.”

They contend that state law contravenes their First Amendments rights and their right to interstate travel, among other grievances.

The suit specifically mentions the Texas Freedom Caucus, deriding attempts by state legislators and others to discourage abortion as the Human Life Protection Act of 2021, sometimes called the “trigger ban,” takes effect Thursday.

Defendants include Attorney General Ken Paxton and virtually all county attorneys and district attorneys in the state. Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), was the Senate author of the state’s trigger ban.

Pro-choice advocates filed the complaint at the federal courthouse in Austin.

A copy of the class action complaint can be found below.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."