The United States Supreme Court officially released its judgment in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Tuesday, initiating a 30-day countdown to the implementation of the Texas Human Life Protection Act, or the “trigger” law banning nearly all abortions.
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The preceding opinion in Dobbs, handed down on June 24th, overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey precedents that made abortion widely available nationwide. In addition to the court’s opinion, Texas law requires the high court’s formal judgment to be issued before the harsher ban on abortion can take effect.
Texas’s trigger law makes nearly all abortions in the state felony crimes. Doctors administering the procedure could face life in prison and fines up to $100,000. The only exceptions are in cases where childbirth endangers the woman’s life.
The Texas Hospital Association (THA) released a statement following the June decision, reaffirming its commitment to women’s reproductive health.
“While the vast majority of abortions do not happen in Texas hospitals, hospitals will stay abreast of the new laws and work with their patients to promote the healthiest outcomes,” said John Hawkins, THA president and CEO.
“The health of pregnant women and overall maternal health has been a central focus of Texas hospitals in recent years, and strides have been made to improve this landscape for women. This work includes coverage expansions for pregnant women, programs to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, and improvements in patient safety, including reductions in obstetric hypertension and hemorrhage cases. As hospitals, we are committed to protecting patient health, first and foremost, as well as the availability of equitable access to safe health care services.”
All 23 abortion clinics operating in the state were forced to prematurely cease operations after the Texas Supreme Court decision earlier this month paved the way for the enforcement of a 1925 abortion ban, leaving providers open to lawsuits and financial penalties prior to the trigger law taking effect.
In an open letter to the state of Texas, Planned Parenthood said it remains committed to the reproductive health of women and will continue to keep its doors open.
“… our teams are working hard to meet the increased demand for services, including birth control, testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), breast and cervical cancer screenings, gender-affirming care, fertility assistance, primary care, and more. Our phones are ringing with questions about long-acting reversible contraception like IUDs and hormonal implants. Like we’ve done for decades, we’re answering the call, providing expert, compassionate healthcare for everyone who needs us. In a state that does not prioritize the health of its citizens and consistently cuts back support for mothers and their families, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline. And we’re here for good. Our doors remain open in Texas, and we are offering sexual and reproductive health care here in the communities we have faithfully served for nearly a century,” read the letter.
In 2021, several measures were passed and signed into law to support women with unplanned pregnancies in lieu of abortion.
The state’s Alternatives to Abortion program received $100 million in funding for the next 2 years to assist women with carrying pregnancies to full-term and up to 3 years of postpartum support for childcare or adoption services.
Pro-life advocates have been directing women with unplanned pregnancies to the state’s 350 pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies that provide free services. The services include pregnancy confirmation, counseling, moral support, classes on parenting and pregnancy, job skills training, and referrals to other government agencies.
“We are grateful to Governor Greg Abbott and the legislature for making the Human Life Protection Act a reality that will be fully realized when it goes into effect in August,” said Joe Pojman, Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director.