On Monday, July 11, 2022, Members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus and the Women’s Health Caucus held a Facebook Live event on the state of abortion in Texas following the Supreme Court’s decision overturn Roe v. Wade. During the discussion, Members addressed several frequently asked questions to clarify what exactly is law right now in Texas. Read the article below for a high-level summary, and for more information, click here to watch a recording of the Facebook Live event.
Is abortion still legal in Texas?
Until Texas’ “Trigger Ban” comes into effect abortion is still legal in Texas, but there are no abortion providers currently operating in the state. While abortions before six weeks remain legal under Texas law, the Texas Attorney General and certain state legislators have taken the position that Texas’ pre-Roe statutes that criminalize abortions are enforceable.
The “trigger ban law” will go into effect 30 days after the final Supreme Court judgment is handed down. Historically, SCOTUS judgments are released 20-25 days following the opinion which means we could get the judgment on or after July 14th.
We’ve seen online that funds and clinics have paused their services. Why aren’t abortion funds disbursing donations to Texans seeking services out of state?
To protect their staff and volunteers to the greatest degree possible from the risk of arrest and involvement with the criminal justice system, they have been forced to pause the funding aspect of their operation. Despite the pause in direct abortion funding, their hotlines remain open to provide information to callers on where to access abortion care outside of Texas.
Given that Texas is choosing to enforce draconian Pre-Roe statutes, where can Texans seek abortion care? Will I be sued for leaving the state?
If you are pregnant and want to know what your options are, please go to abortionfinder.org for more information. The closest states for a Texan in need of abortion services are New Mexico, Kansas, and Tennessee. As of right now, interstate travel is still legal and you cannot be sued for leaving Texas to seek abortion care. However, since the attorney general has chosen to enforce Pre-Roe statutes, anyone who helps “furnish the means” to procure an abortion could be held to civil or criminal penalties if someone were to report this to the Attorney General. The AG has not tried to enforce these laws yet, so it is unknown how this would play out in court.
What about birth control and emergency contraceptives? Are they still legal? Where can I access services if I do not have insurance?
Texans still have access to a range of birth control and reproductive health care services through most health insurance plans and government-funded programs. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans must provide contraception options and family planning counseling at no out-of-pocket cost. This includes FDA-approved options prescribed by a doctor such as birth control pills, vaginal rings, implants like IUDs, barrier methods, sterilization procedures, and emergency contraception like Plan B and Ella. Most insurance plans are also required to cover preventive health services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and screening and counseling for interpersonal violence.
Texas also funds certain birth control methods and other preventive services for low-income women through two programs called Healthy Texas Women and the Family Planning Program. If you are one of the 5 million uninsured Texans, or you are a minor seeking service without parental consent, then you can access services through clinics that receive funding through the federal Title X Family Planning Program. You can find a Title X provider at https://www.everybodytexas.org/find-a-clinic.