Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade: What Does This Mean for Texans?
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
Sadly, on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruled that women no longer had the constitutional right to abortion. This left the lawmaking powers to the states. In Texas, a “trigger law” statute was passed last year which made it a felony in performing an abortion if Roe v. Wade was overturned. This law will take effect within 30 days after the Supreme Court's official ruling. This essentially admits that women will no longer have the opportunity to legally receive an abortion within Texas. This law would bring Texas to pre-Roe conditions, banning all abortions from the moment of fertilization, making a small exception only for pregnant patients whose lives are at risk or to prevent “substantial impairment of major bodily function.” Incredibly, this law does not confer any exception for victims of rape or incest.
Thankfully, on June 28, 2022, a Harris County District Court judge granted a temporary restraining order to block a Texas abortion ban, that was in place before Roe v. Wade, in response to a lawsuit filed on June 27 by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Morrison & Foerster, LLP, and Hayward PLLC. A hearing has been scheduled for July 12 to decide on a permanent restraining order against this total abortion ban. But unfortunately, this temporary restraining order does not prevent Texas's trigger law from going into effect after the Supreme Court's official judgement.
As always, the new legal environment in Texas disproportionately harms women from the lower-income bracket. After the trigger law takes effect, they will be forced to surmount new expenses from having to travel to other states where abortion is still legal. Proponents of the pro-life movement must realize that three out of four women seeking an abortion are considered as poor or low-income, as well as being people of color. Further, this new law in Texas would virtually disregard victims of domestic violence, who turn to having an abortion as a necessary option. Who would want to bring life into a domestic environment where there is nothing but beatings, berating, and bullying? Now, many of these poor victims, either of low-income or of violence, will try desperately to seek other unsafe and possibly life-threatening methods to terminate their pregnancies.
In Texas, there are additional risks for physicians and healthcare workers who could be criminalized for providing and aiding an abortion. The range of punishment can include life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Similarly, patient-physician relationships are at the risk of being undermined, since these type of medical decisions are in the hands of legislators and not with the medical personnel. As a practical effort, ever since the Supreme Court's ruling, many doctors in Texas have already ceased or are winding down all abortion services.
Following this troubling news, it is critical now more than ever to protect American women by raising money to support those struggling to pay for traveling expenses and the elevated costs of having an abortion. Besides helping financially, another method of action is to go out and vote on the local, state, and federal level for pro-choice candidates that are adamant in trying to make abortion legal. This overturning of Roe v. Wade is the first time that a constitutional right has been taken away. The Supreme Court is setting a frightening precedent in removing rights that are protected under landmark cases. Losing the protection of Roe v. Wade marks a loss of social and economic power for women. They have lost their fundamental right to be in charge of their own bodies and their own life decisions. Action not only words is imperative to change this sad state of affairs.
Burke, Minyvonne. “Texas Law Banning Abortion Temporarily Blocked by Court.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 28 June 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-law-banning-abortion-temporarily-blocked-court-rcna35720.
Heinz, Frank. “Texas Trigger Law Will Make Abortion Illegal after Supreme Court's Landmark Reversal.” NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, 24 June 2022, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-news/texas-trigger-law-will-make-abortion-illegal-after-supreme-courts-landmark-reversal/2999677/.
Klibanoff, Eleanor. “‘I Can't Have One More Baby with This Man’: Some Domestic Violence Victims See Abortion as Vital Option That Would Be Lost Post-Roe.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 24 June 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/06/24/domestic-violence-abortion/.
Perez-Castells, Ariana, et al. “Abortions up to Six Weeks of Pregnancy Can Temporarily Resume in Texas, Judge Rules.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 28 June 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/06/28/texas-abortion-resume/.
Texas Tribune Staff. “How the U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Is Already Affecting Texas.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 24 June 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/06/24/texas-abortion-law-supreme-court-ruling/.