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Everything You Need to Know about Texas’ New Abortion Law

A brief summary on the important aspects of this drastic change in women’s healthcare 

As of September 1st, 2021 abortion ceases legality in Texas 6 weeks after patients last menstrual cycle.  Prior to this, the period for legal abortion was prior to 22 weeks post conception. Where does Roe v. Wade come in? 

Roe Versus Wade was a supreme court case that ruled in favor of the previous Texas laws against abortion to be an invasion of personal human rights, therefore initiating the abortion law that was in place up until September 1st. However, in order to counteract the risk of invasion of personal rights – Texas’ new law relies on civil enforcement. 

What does this mean? This means that any citizen to know of an abortion taking place post 6 weeks is held accountable for reporting it. According to section 171. 207., this law will be “enforced exclusively through civil private actions…” therefore allowing civil lawsuits against anyone who performs or helps someone seeking an abortion. This means that the state itself is not allowed to prosecute anyone for these actions and the education lies directly on Texas citizens to sue those they deem guilty, whether someone has performed an abortion or even considered one. 

Another important clause in this new law, section 171. 208, states that there is a case standing for anyone who “performs or induces an abortion… knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion (payment inclusion)…” and anyone who, “ intends to engage in the conduct described.” This directly states that those who receive the procedure may not be sued but those who aided; doctors, drivers, and financial supporters, are all contenders to civil suits. 

An additional addendum to this law includes financial aid towards successful plaintiffs. As included in the previous section, to those who win the case are applicable for, “ injunctive relief sufficient to prevent the defendant from violating this subchapter…statutory damages in an amount of not less than $10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed…” and lastly, “costs and attorney’s fees.” To summarize, the court will grant the winning plaintiff the above-mentioned financial rewards. 

The last thing to keep in mind in regards to the new law is the time frame, as one is permitted to sue another suspected of committing the previously mentioned acts for up to 4 years after the event took place. This does not apply to anything done prior to the law’s initial start date. Since this law has been put in place, companies such as Lyft and Uber have both put out statements saying they will cover any legal fees and penalties their drivers may face from this law as, “Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride,” says Lyfts co-founders Logan and John. 

Additional information on this law can be found here

If you or someone you know is dealing with sexual or other healthcare related crises, contact the open counseling Atlanta Crisis Line.

Kailey Kelly

Oglethorpe '23

Hey guys! My name is Kailey Kelly, I am a Junior at Oglethorpe University, majoring in Communications and minoring in Creative Writing. I am the Recruitment Director for the HerCampus Oglethorpe chapter, and am super excited to be a part of this community! I have always loved reading and writing, and cannot wait for you to read mine.
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