Jun 24, 2022 - News

With Roe overturned, Texas trigger law will make abortion illegal

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The highly-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court opinion out today means the end of Roe v. Wade, which will initiate a so-called trigger law in Texas that will make performing abortion a felony.

Why it matters: The law will go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues its formal judgement, a legal document that is distinct from the court's opinion, according to a new advisory from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

  • The court is expected to issue a judgement in a month, according to Paxton.
  • Under Texas' law, doctors could face life in prison and fines up to $100,000 if they perform abortions.

The big picture: The law, passed by the Texas legislature last year, would make exceptions only to save the life of a pregnant patient or if a pregnant person risks "substantial impairment of major bodily function."

  • The law doesn't make exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

Zoom out: Texas is one of 13 states with laws that will ban abortions now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, and more are likely follow suit quickly, per Axios' Oriana Gonzalez.

  • Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas — three of Texas' four border states — have similar laws.

Threat level: Texas and other red states that are poised to ban or limit abortion already tend to have limited access to health care, poor health outcomes and few safety-net programs for mothers and children.

  • Experts say there's a shortage of obstetricians.

Between the lines: Experts say abortion bans would also likely put more pressure on foster and adoption systems.

What they're saying: An increase in births that would have otherwise not occurred "almost certainly means more foster children," said Richard Shannon, chief quality officer at Duke Health.

  • And while the foster care system is "a vital social service, it is in desperate need of further improvement and will only be stressed by an increase in pregnancies and live births among moms who can't take care of their kids."

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