Travis County District Judge Declares Protective Abortion Law to Be Unconstitutional in Part; TX AG’s Office Responds Quickly
Austin, TX – State District Court Judge Jessica Mangrum issued a temporary injunction order late Friday blocking Texas pro-life laws’ protections for babies facing life-limiting or fatal diagnoses and opening the door to confusion about the clearly-worded exception language to allow abortions when a pregnancy endangers a mother’s life. Responding quickly, the Texas Attorney General’s Office filed a motion in the Texas Supreme Court that effectively blocks the injunction and allows the exception language approved by the Legislature to remain in effect.
“We applaud the swift action of the Texas Attorney General’s office to defend Texas law, which protects the lives of unborn babies while allowing abortions in rare cases when abortion is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life,” said Texas Alliance for Life Communications Director Amy O’Donnell. “While Texas law is clear, we believe that some doctors are not apprised of the actual language of the law, resulting in poor care for their patients. Professional organizations like the Texas Medical Association, ACOG, and the Texas Medical Board, are the proper sources of guidance and rules for physicians, not the courts. Judicial activism from the bench using non-medically defined terms opens the door for greater confusion.”
In August 2022, the Human Life Protection Act went into effect, protecting unborn babies from abortion beginning at conception. That law allows a physician to perform an abortion to save a mother’s life, when “in the exercise of reasonable medical judgment, the pregnant female… has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless the abortion is performed or induced.” Nothing requires a woman’s death to be imminent, or her unborn baby’s heart to stop beating before an abortion can be performed to save a woman’s life.
The exception language in Texas Human Life Protect Act is the same as in a 2013 law to protect unborn babies from abortion beginning at 20 weeks. Since then, no physician has ever been prosecuted for performing abortions to save the mother’s life under the pre-Roe laws, the 20-week law, and the Human Life Protection Act.
A witness in defense of Texas law, Ingrid Skop, M.D., explains in this video released by Texas Alliance for Life that the law clearly allows prompt abortions when necessary to save the mother’s life.
Texas Alliance for Life will continue to monitor the case in the Texas Supreme Court.