We are giving thanks that yesterday in Texas the Human Life Protection Act of 2021 (HB 1280) outlawing abortion went into effect. The countdown for HB 1280, known as Texas’ pro-life Trigger Law, to become enforceable began 30 days ago on July 26 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its final judgment in the Dobbs case. Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade and returned authority to legislate abortion to the people and their elected representatives. Texas is one of 13 states to pass Trigger Laws that ban abortions after Roe’s reversal.
Texas’ Trigger Law provides: (See HB 1280 HERE)
- Protection of an unborn baby from conception until birth.
- Violation of the law is a first-degree felony for the physician or other health care professional punishable for up to 99 years imprisonment if an unborn child dies.
- Violators will be subject to a civil penalty of $100,000 or more.
- The appropriate licensing authority must revoke the medical license or certificate of a physician or other health care professional who performs, induces or attempts an abortion.
- Exceptions in the exercise of a licensed physician’s reasonable medical judgment for medical emergencies posing life-threatening conditions or serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function to the pregnant female.
- No authority for the imposition of criminal or civil liability on a pregnant female on whom an abortion is performed, induced or attempted.
STATE TRIGGER LAWS CHALLENGED; DUELING RULINGS IN TEXAS AND IDAHO
The fierce legal push back that began immediately in the wake of the Dobbs decision continues. Following President Biden’s Executive Order on abortion access on July 8 (See Council for Life News article HERE), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a Guidance on July 11. The Guidance requires medical providers to provide abortion services in emergency situations and protects the abortion providers even if the abortion services violate state law by effectively preempting state abortion bans. (See HHS Guidance News Release HERE)
The Guidance was challenged in a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on July 14 (See Attorney General Paxton Press Release HERE) and thankfully was blocked this past Tuesday by a federal judge in Texas. U.S. District Court Judge James Wesley Hendrix upheld Texas’ Trigger Law by ruling Wednesday that the Guidance, which cites the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), was unauthorized. In contrast in a separate case in Idaho, a federal judge on Wednesday blocked the state’s abortion ban by granting a request by the U.S. Department of Justice citing EMTALA to challenge parts of Idaho’s Trigger Law. (See White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Briefing Statement HERE)
Just yesterday in North Dakota in a case filed by the state’s former sole abortion provider, a judge issued a ruling putting on hold the state’s Trigger Law abortion ban scheduled to go into effect today. (See Washington Post article HERE)
The Texas, Idaho, North Dakota cases and other state Trigger Laws will continue to be contested and appealed as the lawsuits wind their way through the court systems, possibly forcing the U.S. Supreme Court back in the debate.
CHEMICAL ABORTION SURGE
Chemical abortions, often resulting in dangerous complications for the mother and even death, are increasing dramatically and currently constitute over half of the abortions in our country.
Despite the fact that abortion is illegal and abortion clinics have closed in Texas, the nefarious threat of chemical abortion lurks. Texas law restricts and regulates the illegal sale of abortion pills through the mail. (See Council for Life News article HERE) Chemical abortion pill providers are targeting abortion minded women no longer lawfully able to obtain a surgical abortion like in Texas. The availability of chemical abortion pills on the internet from both domestic and overseas sources is pervasive, and the difficulty in monitoring such purchases provides the opportunity to circumvent state abortion bans. (Read New York Times article HERE)
Pregnancy Resource Centers in Texas are experiencing a significant increase in the number of women who are confused and more abortion determined than ever. PRCs need to shore up their staff, facilities, services and online marketing to reach the abortion determined woman before she accesses chemical abortion pills or travels across state lines for an abortion. Agencies are being forced to increase security measures to protect their clients, volunteers, staffs and centers.
CONTINUED CONVERSATION AND PRAYERS NEEDED
As we celebrate the Human Life Protection Act in Texas we thank God for the thousands of precious babies whose lives have already been saved by the pro-life legislation in our state. We thank God for the hundreds of pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and adoption agencies across Texas providing free, compassionate services and vital resources to women, men and families facing unplanned pregnancies.
But in the midst of our joy, we are powerfully aware of the need for continued conversation and prayer on the issue of abortion in our communities and churches. Untruths circulating from the pro-abortion side are intended to create fear and uncertainty. Please educate yourself and proclaim the truth in love. Science shows the irrefutable humanity of the child in the womb. As Christians, we know that each and every unborn baby was known and loved by our Creator since the beginning of time and bears His image.