Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday issued new guidance on the state’s “trigger law” that bans most abortions, saying the measure will go into effect Aug. 25.
The US Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade The decision paved the way for the legislation, Texas House Bill 1280, to come into force. The law makes it a second-degree felony if a person “performs, induces or attempts an abortion.” The sentence changes to a first degree sentence if the unborn child dies.
The Supreme Court issued its opinion on the case on June 24, but the Texas law does not take effect until 30 days after the court’s formal judgment in the matter, which was released on Tuesday.
“Now that the Supreme Court has finally overturned Roe, I will do everything in my power to protect mothers, families and unborn children, and to uphold state laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature. “, Paxton said in the guidelines.
The new law also allows the attorney general to bring civil damages of at least $100,000 for each abortion performed, which Paxton said he was prepared to enforce.
“Additionally, we are ready to assist any local prosecutor who brings criminal charges,” he said. “In addition, state licensing authorities” shall revoke the license, permit, registration, certificate, or other authority of a physician or other health professional who practices, causes or attempts an abortion in violation of “the law”, he said.
Texas was one of several states nationwide to pass “trigger law” in anticipation of a High Court ruling restricting access to abortion. But some clinics in Texas had already closed or moved to other states after Paxton said a 1925 law that had never been enforced could be resurrected after the court ruling. This law allows for civil penalties and lawsuits against abortion providers and the state Supreme Court’s decision to let it stand.
Although Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott and other state Republicans have for years championed restrictive abortion legislation, a recent poll shows a majority of registered voters favor legislation less harsh than which will soon become state law.
Nearly 80% favor a less restrictive policy than HB 1280, according to polling results released Tuesday by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.
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Do you have any advice? Email Julián Aguilar at [email protected].You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.