87th Legislature88th LegislatureU.S. Supreme Court Issues Dobbs Judgment, Triggering 30-Day Countdown to New Texas Abortion Ban

Though elective abortion is already a crime in Texas, the Human Life Protection Act will make it a first-degree felony.
July 26, 2022
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its judgment upholding the State of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, triggering the new Texas ban on elective abortions.

The court had already issued its opinion on June 24, reversing Roe v. Wade and returning the authority to regulate abortion back to the states.

Texas has two elective abortion bans on the books, but only the older ban is currently effective. The new ban, passed last year, takes effect 30 days from today.

Entitled the Human Life Protection Act, House Bill (HB) 1280 is a state law that bans any abortion not meant to save the mother from death or substantial bodily impairment. Like all Texas abortion laws, it allows the evacuation of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

The law makes it a felony to knowingly perform, induce, or attempt an abortion. If the procedure successfully ends the unborn child’s life, the offense is a first degree felony.

The Texan Tumbler

In addition to criminal penalties, violators are subject to civil penalties of at least $100,000 for each violation. The attorney general enforces this civil provision.

Medical professionals that carry out elective abortions will also lose their licenses under the law.

Lastly, on top of these punishments, the law leaves an open window for the expanded civil penalties several Republicans have promised to enact in 2022.

“The fact that conduct is subject to a civil or criminal penalty under this chapter does not abolish or impair any remedy for the conduct that is available in a civil suit,” the law reads.

Members of the Texas Freedom Caucus laid out a plan earlier this month to further restrict abortion, including legislation to create a private right of action authorizing private lawsuits against anybody that performs an elective abortion on an unborn Texas resident.

Colloquially known as a “trigger ban,” HB 1280 was passed last year but scheduled to take effect thirty days after the issuance of a Supreme Court judgment overruling Roe.

The abortion ban currently in effect is the same ban deemed unconstitutional in the 1973 Roe case that began in Dallas County. Unrepealed, it regained force once the Supreme Court overturned Roe in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision last month.

This older ban relies on local prosecutors for enforcement and punishes abortion with two to five years in prison.

Texas abortion law shields the mother that seeks an abortion from any penalty, civil or criminal.

HB 1280 was carried by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller) and Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney).

Correction: This article misidentified first-degree felonies as the most severe class of crime in Texas. The most severe class of crime in Texas is capital murder.


Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.

Get “KB's Hot Take”

A free bi-weekly commentary on current events by Konni Burton.

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.