Texas Governor Abbott Signs ‘Trigger’ Bill Outlawing Abortion upon Roe Reversal

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Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a “trigger law” Tuesday that would make abortion illegal in the state upon the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

During the bill-signing ceremony, the governor said, “The most precious freedom of all is life itself. Our creator endowed us with the right to life. And yet, millions of children lose their lives every year before they were even born.”

The main provision of House Bill 1280 would be implemented 30 days after a repeal of the Roe decision or if a constitutional amendment were adopted to the U.S. Constitution allowing states to prohibit abortion, The Texas Tribune previously reported. The bill, once triggered, would deem abortion a criminal offense. It further stipulates that medical physicians who knowingly perform, induce, or attempt an abortion bear responsibility rather than the pregnant female.

A person who violates the bill would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $100,000 for each violation. In addition to paying the fine, doctors and health-care professionals involved in an abortion procedure could have their licenses and permits revoked. The legislation includes an exception for cases when pregnancy causes or aggravates a life-threatening condition in the mother that endangers her life or poses serious risk of impairment of a major bodily function.

“I am signing a law today that will save babies from the ravages of abortion. It is known as the ‘abortion trigger bill.’ Under this law, the moment that Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will be outlawed in the state of Texas. Texas will continue to foster a culture of life,” Abbott declared.

Republicans believe the bill is politically expedient, as it protects against the future possibility that a Democratic-dominated Texas state legislature tries to stall action on abortion measures in the event of a Roe reversal. This legislation allows abortion to be quickly banned in the state once a Supreme Court overturn is handed down.

H.B. 1280 is the second bill limiting abortion to advance to Abbott’s desk. In May, Texas became one of a handful of Republican-dominated states to enact legislation that would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected unless a medical emergency exception applies. That law has a unique clause that leaves enforcement to private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who assists a woman in terminating a pregnancy as early as six weeks into the term.

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