know about Abortion Funds Sue to Help Pregnant Texans Get Out-of-State Abortions
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Reproductive rights groups filed a federal class action lawsuit Tuesday to avoid possible prosecution of Texas officials for helping Texans gain access to legal abortions in other states.
The lawsuit filed in Austin names Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as well as a class of county and district attorneys who could enforce the state’s near-total abortion ban, which takes effect Thursday.
The law, known as house Bill 1280, was approved last year. It is “triggered” to go into effect on Thursday by the US Supreme Court’s ruling in June on Dobbs v. Jackson, which struck down the constitutional protection of Roe v. Wade for access to abortion.
The plaintiffs want a federal judge to issue an injunction barring Paxton and prosecutors from using that law and other statutes to target those reproductive rights groups for activities the groups say conservative state leaders may oppose politically but they are still legal.
The groups want the court to confirm that “no defendant may enforce the Triggering Ban…in a manner that violates plaintiffs’ rights to travel freely, associate freely, speak freely, and freely support members of their communities through of financial assistance, as guaranteed. by the United States Constitution and federal law,” according to the lawsuit.
The named plaintiffs are Fund Texas Choice, North Texas Equal Access Fund, Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Frontera Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network, and Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, a open Texas supplier.
They are asking for legal protection to continue to fundraise and pay for out-of-state abortion expenses, including raising funds for travel or other costs or for the procedure itself, as well as helping pregnant Texans with logistical information about legal out-of-state abortions. condition. , according to demand.
The Lilith Fund and others have already been targeted by lawyers and lawmakers who helped write Texas abortion bans seeking to unseat them over abortions they helped pay for, though no comment has yet been made.
Abortion clinics have already stopped performing the procedure, fearing prosecution under state laws that were on the books before Roe v. Wade. In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs say they, too, have stopped working in Texas, as conservative state leaders and lawmakers promise to punish them, too, with increasing threats of criminal and civil action.
“Texas state officials contend that virtually all activities of those who help pregnant Texans understand their medical rights and options are now subject to criminal prosecution,” the lawsuit says. “The threats have been repeated and far-reaching, and the intimidation has prevented professionals from providing counseling, financial, logistical and even informational assistance to pregnant Texans who may need to access out-of-state abortion services.”
Paxton could not be reached for comment Monday night.
The lawsuit alleges that Paxton, along with “activist lawmakers and their associates,” are conducting a coordinated effort to harass organizations that exercise their right to free speech by advocating for access to abortions and helping pregnant Texans seek them legally under law. current bans. Most of the latter involve financial or logistical help in obtaining an abortion in another state where the procedure is still legal.
The court filing points to, as an example, multiple statements in late June by state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, asserting that donors, volunteers, employees, and anyone else associated with these groups are guilty of breaking the law for helping people. legally overcome the Texas ban. He also suggested that the constitutionally protected right to travel between states for any reason does not translate to the right to pay for someone else to do it, such as an abortion.
Disclosure: Afiya Center has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial sponsors play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a full list of them here.
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