Abortion 'trigger law' goes into effect in Texas on Thursday

The so-called "trigger law" on abortion in Texas goes into effect on Thursday.

The law, passed by the state legislature in 2021, enhances penalties making all abortions performed in the state a felony, except in cases where the mother's life is in danger.

Any doctor who performs an abortion in Texas could face life in prison and grants the Attorney General the authority to file civil lawsuits with fines up to $100,000.

The Texas law was written to go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issued its official judgment reversing Roe v. Wade, after which no rehearings or appeals can be filed.

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The state’s two dozen abortion clinics stopped providing abortions almost immediately after the court's decision in late June, fearing criminal prosecution.

Whole Woman's Health which operated several abortion clinics in Texas announced it was moving to New Mexico where abortions are legal.

The anti-abortion group Texas Right To Life says an estimated 10,000 procedures have been prevented since the Roe v. Wade decision in June.

The organization says pregnant mothers seeking abortions will not be punished under the new laws.

"If abortion would save her life, that is permissible. And in new women who are experiencing the tragedy of miscarriage, they still can get treatment," said Texas Right To Life's Kimberlyn Schwartz.

Pro-choice groups say Texas has become an "abortion desert."

Nancy Northup, the CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, released a statement Wednesday said, "Evidence is already mounting of women being turned away despite needing urgent, and in some cases life-saving, medical care. This unfolding public health crisis will only continue to get worse."

Some cities, including Dallas, approved resolutions deprioritizing police investigations of alleged abortion violations.

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Experts expect more legal challenges in the future.

"You're going to start seeing cases about is how far Texas or a prosecutor at a county level in Texas can try to apply this law to out of state activity," said Constitutional law attorney David Coale. "If someone who's in Texas is pregnant and wants to obtain an abortion and leaves the state, does that implicate the prohibitions of this law for activity that occurs outside of the state?"