know about Abortion Rights Groups File Federal Class Action Lawsuit
WASHINGTON — Abortion rights groups in Texas hope that by filing a federal class action lawsuit they can once again support pregnant Texans who want to have the procedure out of state.
One point of contention is a Texas abortion ban that is more than a century old and whether it can still be enforced today.
As of this month, there are three abortion bans Texans must contend with after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Fear of prosecution and punishment has been enough to dissuade reproductive rights groups in Texas from raising funds to cover the costs of out-of-state abortions and other travel expenses.
“It has been very hard. It is devastating, because not only are we not able to support the people we know, need and deserve. But we also have to remain objective under the microscope of anti-abortion extremists,” Kamyon Conner, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, told Spectrum News.
Earlier this month, The Texas Equal Access Fund joined other abortion funds and advocates in filing a federal class action lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other local district attorneys to get some clarity and legal protection.
“It is sad that certain people have decided that the best way to achieve the political ends they want is to violate the constitutional rights of others. The free speech rights to spend your money, the ways you think are politically prudent, to travel back and forth,” Jennifer Ecklund, partner at Thompson Coburn.
Paxton and other Texas Republicans say funding out-of-state abortions is punishable under a 19th-century Texas law that makes it a crime to “provide the means to procure” one.
“The state legislature is the one who made those laws,” Rebecca Parma, senior legislative associate at Texas Right to Lifehe told Spectrum News. “And they are the only entity that can repeal those laws even though they weren’t enforced for several decades. They are back in force now, because they were never explicitly repealed.”
Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Texas, previously told Spectrum News that “no one has the right to pay for someone else’s abortion.”
Some Republican state lawmakers have indicated they are ready to attack abortion-rights groups and businesses that pay for out-of-state abortions. They are also exploring the option of empowering district attorneys to prosecute those outside their jurisdiction.
“I think they don’t really care what happens to Texans, they really just want their ultimate anti-abortion agenda to win and succeed,” Conner said.
While the Justice Department says it will uphold the right to travel for an abortion, attorneys representing Texas abortion funds expect a hearing on a preliminary injunction in the coming weeks.