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Texas Abortion Laws

Summary

Abortion is illegal in Texas unless necessary to save the life of the mother.

Introduction

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which returned to the states the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion. Texas has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

Texas Law as of April 2022

Texas’ abortion laws changed significantly in 2021. 

There are three particular statutes (laws) in place, only one of which is currently effective. The first statute is the Texas Heartbeat Act of 2021. That statute prohibits essentially all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected (which takes place around 6 weeks of gestation) and is enforced through a private civil lawsuit. Various abortion providers filed a civil action to suspend the statute in Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson. The law remains in effect while the case is in court.

The second abortion law, the Human Life Protection Act of 2021, is effective 30 days after the judgment in Dobbs is entered. That statute would essentially prohibit all abortions except when the pregnancy (1) places the mother at risk of death or (2) poses a serious risk of substantially impairing a major bodily function. The Dobbs judgment is expected to be entered in mid-July, 2022.

The third law, which is in effect until the Human Life Protection Act goes into effect, is a 1925 ban on virtually all abortions. 

The Main Provisions: Texas Abortion Laws

The main provisions of Texas's Human Life Protection Act are highlighted in the table below. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section to learn more.

Code Section Tex. Civ. Stat. 170A.001, et seq.
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion
Abortion is prohibited, unless the pregnant woman has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places her at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion
First-degree felony (second-degree felony if the unborn child survives the abortion attempt)
Physician Licensing Requirements Licensed physician

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Texas Abortion Laws: Related Resources

Have Concerns About Texas Abortion Laws? Talk to a Local Attorney

If you have concerns about Texas abortion laws, you should talk to a skilled family law attorney in Texas.

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