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Texas Lawmakers Pass Legislation That Would Immediately Outlaw All Abortions If 'Roe' Is Overturned

The Texas Legislature passed a bill late Tuesday that would immediately outlaw abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion in the U.S.

House Bill 1280 is referred to as a “trigger ban." Ten states have similar laws on the books.

If signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, which is largely expected, the bill would make getting an abortion a first-degree felony. Doctors who provide the procedure would be subject to criminal, civil and disciplinary penalties.

The bill doesn’t include exceptions for rape, incest, serious fetal abnormalities or the mental health of the mother.

Dr. Joe Pojman, executive director for the Texas Alliance for Life, applauded lawmakers for passing HB 1280.

“To whatever extent the Supreme Court allows states to protect unborn babies from abortion — whether at 15 weeks, six weeks, or at conception — the Human Life Protection Act will go into effect to the same extent," he said in a statement.

But Aimee Arrambide, the executive director of Avow, a pro-abortion rights organization, said the bill is “one of the most extreme trigger bans” in the country.

“The passage of HB 1280 last night is an affront to the will of the majority of Texans who overwhelmingly support access to abortion care,” she said. “The passage of this bill is particularly alarming in the context of last week's Supreme Court announcement.”

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. It will be the court's first abortion case since former President Trump appointed three conservative justices.

Last week, Abbott signed a bill that would prohibit women from getting an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That could be as early as six weeks, which is before many women even know they are pregnant. That law also doesn’t carve out exception for people who are victims of rape or incest, either.

Dyana Limon-Mercado, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said in a statement that the Legislature's actions this session are part of a long history of attacks on reproductive rights in the state.

“For decades, Texas politicians have made reproductive health care virtually inaccessible, pushing it out of reach for people who need it,” she said. “Rather than voting to expand Medicaid, provide substantive COVID-19 relief and address our failed energy grid, members of the Texas Legislature prioritized abortion bans, attacks on trans kids, permitless carry and voter suppression bills. The people of Texas deserve better.”

Copyright 2021 KUT 90.5