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News > U.S.

Harsher Abortion Ban Takes Effect in Texas

  • U.S. college students demanding abortion rights.

    U.S. college students demanding abortion rights. | Photo: Twitter/ @left_voice

Published 25 August 2022

By the end of August, nearly all of the abortion trigger bans in the United States will take effect.

A "trigger law" on abortion takes effect on Thursday in Texas, making it a felony to perform an abortion at any point in a pregnancy except in rare cases in the country's second most populous state.


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The "trigger law" only allows abortions for pregnant patients in a medical emergency, and there is no exception for rape or incest. The new ban will also toughen the punishment for illegal abortion providers, putting them at risk of facing life in prison and fines no less than US$100,000.

After the Supreme Court in June overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that had established a constitutional right to abortion, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a guidance requiring hospitals to perform abortions in medical emergencies even if such an abortion is prohibited by state law.

The guidance lists an ectopic pregnancy, complications of pregnancy loss or emergent hypertensive disorders as examples of potential medical conditions that may necessitate an abortion to save a pregnant woman, threatening to fine or strip medicare status from hospitals that failed to follow the guidance.

Texas sued the Biden administration over the guidance in July. James Wesley Hendrix, a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, on Tuesday temporarily blocked enforcement of the guidance, ruling that the Biden administration "lacked statutory authority" to issue it and that allowing federal guidance to supersede state law would cause "irreparable harm."

"Last night, the court ruled in favor of Texas! A WIN for mothers, babies & the TX healthcare industry," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, tweeted on Wednesday. He accused the Biden administration of attempting to "transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic."

Meanwhile, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said that Democrats were angry and heartbroken for Texas women. "Let me be clear: we strongly disagree with this ruling -- and we stand with the millions of Texans who have been dealt yet another blow to their fundamental freedoms and bodily autonomy," he stressed.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the judge's decision "a blow to Texans," saying pregnant women in Texas may now be denied appropriate treatment for conditions such as dangerously high blood pressure or severe bleeding.

"It's wrong, it's backwards, and women may die as a result. The fight is not over," Jean-Pierre said in a statement, adding "the President will continue to push to require hospitals to provide life-saving and health-preserving reproductive care."

By the end of August, nearly all of the abortion trigger bans in the United States will take effect. However, about 80 percent Texas voters say abortion should be permitted in cases of rape and incest, according to a poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin in late June.

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