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Family Law Lawyer

The conversation surrounding Roe v. Wade has come to the forefront of political debates in recent months because of the new Texas abortion laws. To understand what the new Texas laws mean it is important to first understand the scope of Roe v. Wade. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled, in a majority vote, to recognize a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. Before this case was brought to the Supreme Court, abortion was only legal if decided by a doctor in order to save a woman’s life.

During this case, Jane Roe, a fictitious name used to protect the woman’s identity, argued that the laws surrounding abortion violated her personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court agreed that a state that broadly prohibits abortion without consideration of the stage of the pregnancy or other interests pertaining to the woman, violates her rights. In conclusion the court ruled that during the first trimester of pregnancy, the state may not interfere with the woman’s decision to abort. During the second trimester the state may impose regulations on abortion as they relate to maternal health. During the third and final trimester, the state may prohibit abortions entirely with exceptions when necessary to save the life or health of the mother.

In the past year, Texas has proposed new abortion laws, that if passed will enforce a near total ban on abortion. Under the new Bill, SB 8 also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, Texas has proposed a total ban on abortion after six weeks into a pregnancy or once a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected. Included in this Bill, individual citizens can sue abortion providers or anyone found helping or aiding in the act of an abortion. Under section 171. 208 of the Bill, it states that “if a claimant prevails in an action brought under this section, the court shall award: statutory damages in an amount of not less than $10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed or induced in violation of this chapter, and for each abortion performed or induced in violation of this chapter that the defendant aided or abetted”. 

This essentially means that if a private citizen discovers doctors performing abortions or knows of a woman terminating her pregnancy, that private citizen can turn the doctor or woman in for a $10,000 reward. Texas has decided to allow private citizens to be the primary enforcers of this law as to not spend money state law enforcement having to enforce this new act. There have been large protests over this new Bill and it is yet to be known whether or not this Bill will come to full fruition. A family law lawyer will be able to offer more in depth advice regarding this subject. For a better understanding of how Roe v. Wade might affect you call Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule a confidential consultation.