Anti-choice Texas lawmakers just got their 2023 marching orders
Anti-abortion lawmakers in Texas are far from finished — and they’re building the playbook for every other anti-choice state.
When it comes to eviscerating abortion access, Texas is a trend-setter. Even before the Supreme Court’s devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Lone Star State enacted one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-choice measures, Senate Bill 8 (SB8), which banned abortion at roughly six weeks — with zero exceptions for rape, incest, or severe fetal abnormality. Dozens of states followed suit by introducing “copycat” laws. Never complacent, Texas’ anti-choice faction has outlined how exactly it plans to further dismantle what few reproductive freedoms remain.
“We have spent the last six months articulating that even with Roe overturned, there is still a lot we need to do in Texas,” John Seago, president of Texas Right to Life, told The Intercept in a recent interview. “Thankfully, that’s been completely well received by the Republican Party of Texas.”
Ahead of the state’s 2023 legislative session start on January 10th, Republican lawmakers have begun discussing efforts to enact further anti-choice restrictions — a playbook that will undoubtedly be seen and utilized by other states looking to follow Texas’ lead. Those restrictions include:
- Further restricting out-of-state abortion travel
- Criminalizing companies that support out-of-state abortion travel for patients
- Empowering District Attorneys to prosecute abortion care providers outside of their own jurisdictions
- Penalizing online organizations that help Texans access abortion medication
Legislatures have already begun their crackdown. On Dec. 20, a federal court ruling from U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk (a former religious liberty lawyer) made it almost impossible for Texas teens to access birth control without parental consent under Title X, a federal program that indiscriminately provides free, confidential contraception to anyone regardless of age, income, or immigration status. Kacsmaryk ruled that the program violates both parents’ rights and state and federal law by denying a parent their “fundamental right to control and direct the upbringing of his minor children.”
With Texas often at the forefront for gutting reproductive rights, the success of its anti-choice coalition during the state’s legislative session (running from January 10th to June) will likely have a ripple effect across the nation. After Texas enacted SB8 in September 2021, dozens of states introduced abortion bans with similarly draconian language and provisions allowing private citizens to sue anyone who “aids and abets” abortion.
Now, with the state’s anti-choice lobbyists and legislators opening up a playbook built on further penalizing abortion support systems built to improve out-of-state access, we’re getting a disturbing glimpse into what other states can expect in the future.
The good news: there are still plenty of people fighting for reproductive rights. To help Texans access the medical care they need, you can donate to these organizations fighting for abortion care access.