AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas “trigger law” that bans virtually all abortions will take effect in 30 days, after the U.S. Supreme Court officially issued its judgment on the case overruling Roe v. Wade on Tuesday.
The law automatically bans most abortions in the state and was written to be “triggered” on Aug. 25, exactly 30 days after the high court issued an official judgment, not an opinion, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The judgment comes a little over a month after justices issued an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where a majority ruled 6-3 that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, overturning nearly 50 years of precedence under Roe v. Wade. In the opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the issue of abortion should be decided by the states.
Legal questions around abortions in Texas have been present since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively stopping them altogether as providers feared retribution.
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision on June 24, Paxton sent out an advisory stating abortions are “now illegal here,” citing 1920s-era Texas statutes that existed before Roe v. Wade was first decided in 1973.
Paxton said under those laws, “providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions.” Despite lawsuits from providers over the interpretation of this law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the 1925 statute is enforceable.
Once in effect, the trigger law will prohibit all abortions except under limited circumstances, such as a “life-threatening condition to the mother caused by the pregnancy.” Abortion will be punishable by up to life in prison at least a $100,000 fine for each offense.
Abortion opponents have said the state’s trigger law will work in concert with Texas’ Senate Bill 8, which allows private citizens to sue providers or anyone who aids and abets in abortions that occur after six weeks. The trigger law bans abortions after fertilization.