With Roe v. Wade overturned, many Texas women are asking major questions regarding abortion. There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation out there, making it difficult for those experiencing unplanned pregnancies to get the answers they need.
If you’ve got questions or concerns, Women’s Choice Resource Center is here to help! In this blog post, we’re exploring how the overturn of Roe v. Wade may affect Texas women and how they can get the support they need for an unplanned pregnancy!
What is Roe v. Wade?
Roe v. Wade is the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that established the constitutional right to abortion. The decision didn’t ensure the absolute right to abortion, as states were allowed to enforce regulations. However, they couldn’t outlaw abortion completely.
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, the court established regulations based on trimesters:
- In the first trimester, the abortion decision was “solely at the discretion of the woman”.
- During the second trimester, “the state could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother’s health”.
- Beyond the second trimester, “the fetus became viable, and the state could regulate or outlaw abortions in the interest of the potential life except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother”.
What is Dobbs v. Jackson?
Dobbs v. Jackson is the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court case, which ruled that abortion should not be considered a constitutional right. This ruling overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
Dobbs v. Jackson began in 2018, when Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi abortion clinic, challenged the state’s Gestational Age Act. The act banned abortion past 15 weeks of pregnancy, but exceptions could be made for “severe fetal abnormalities” and other medical emergencies.
The initial question presented was “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional”. Ultimately, the court decided that there is no constitutional right to abortion.
What Does the Overturn of Roe v. Wade Mean?
The overturning of Roe v. Wade simply puts the deciding power in the hands of the state. Some states will restrict abortion access, while others plan to expand it. In Texas’ case, abortion will be strictly limited.
Are Abortions Illegal in Texas?
Attorney General Ken Paxton recently confirmed that “abortion will soon be clearly illegal in Texas”. However, this does not mean that women who receive abortions will face heavy fines or imprisonment.
SB 8 (also known as the Heartbeat Bill) prohibits abortion once a heartbeat is detected with an ultrasound, which usually occurs around 6 weeks. This law requires women to receive an ultrasound prior to an abortion. That being said, women will not be prosecuted for receiving abortions under SB 8. Rather, physicians who provide abortions after a heartbeat has been detected may incur statutory damages in an amount of not less than $10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed or induced in violation of this law.
House Bill 1280 (HB 1280), the Texas abortion trigger law, does not charge women who receive abortions either. Similar to SB 8, physicians who provide illegal abortions are subject to penalties of $100,000 or more for each violation. Exceptions can be made if the woman has a life-threatening condition and could be at risk of death or “substantial impairment of a major bodily function” if the abortion is not performed. However, the physician must attempt to save the fetus’ life, unless this would increase the risk of harm to the mother.
Is Treating Miscarriage and Ectopic Pregnancy Considered Abortion?
It’s important to understand that miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy treatment and abortion are not the same procedures. Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy treatment are used specifically for inviable pregnancies. Abortion is only used to terminate viable pregnancies.
There are two abortion procedures: the abortion pill and surgical abortion.
The abortion pill is a two-step process. The first pill, mifepristone, stops the pregnancy from growing. The second pill, misoprostol, is taken 24 to 48 hours later. This pill causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy tissue.
In a surgical abortion, a physician opens the cervix with small rods called dilators. Next, a tube is inserted into the uterus and a suction device is used to extract the pregnancy tissue.
There are three options for miscarriage treatment. Depending on how severe your situation is, you can choose to undergo:
- Expectant management. You can allow the miscarriage to proceed naturally if there aren’t any signs of infection. This process can take up to three to four weeks and is very draining on the mind and body. If the expulsion can’t happen on its own, you will need medical or surgical treatment.
- Medical treatment. Some women opt to speed up the miscarriage process through medication. To do so, your physician may prescribe misoprostol to get the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy tissue faster. Most women complete the process within 24 hours of taking the medication.
- Surgical treatment. Another miscarriage treatment option is Dilation and Curettage (D&C). Some women do choose to undergo D&C, but it’s mostly used for those who are experiencing heavy bleeding and infection symptoms after their miscarriage.
While misoprostol and D&C are also used in abortion, using them to treat miscarriages is not considered abortion, because the pregnancy is not viable. Miscarriage treatment remains legal and available to Texas women!
Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two ways to treat ectopic pregnancies–either by medication or laparoscopic surgery.
Ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed by transvaginal ultrasounds. If it’s detected early enough, the ectopic pregnancy can be treated by a medication called methotrexate, which is taken by injection. This stops the pregnancy from growing and breaks down the existing cells. The doctor will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your HCG levels to ensure the procedure was successful.
In more extreme cases, surgery may be required to treat the ectopic pregnancy. If a rupture hasn’t occurred, the woman will undergo a salpingostomy. In this procedure, the ectopic pregnancy is removed and the fallopian tube is left to heal on its own. If a rupture has occurred, a salpingectomy will be performed to remove the ectopic pregnancy and the damaged fallopian tube.
If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, contact your doctor immediately to receive an ultrasound and get started with the appropriate treatment. Remember, abortion is never needed to treat either situation!
Does This Affect the Services Offered at Women’s Choice Resource Center?
This changing landscape doesn’t change our commitment to you. At Women’s Choice Resource Center, we continue to provide free services to support you through your unplanned pregnancy:
Our services are 100% confidential and free of charge! Our team of licensed medical staff is here to provide you with care and compassion. Give us a call at (817) 409-8849 or schedule your appointment today!
Library of Congress. (n.d.). Roe v. Wade. Library of Congress. Retrieved from https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/ll/usrep/usrep410/usrep410113/usrep410113.pdf
Cornell Law School. (n.d.). Roe v. Wade (1973). Legal Information Institute. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/roe_v_wade_(1973)
Supreme Court of the United States. (n.d.). Dobbs v. Jackson. Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved from https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf
Library of Congress. (n.d.). Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Library of Congress. Retrieved from https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/ll/usrep/usrep505/usrep505833/usrep505833.pdf
Mississippi Legislature. (n.d.). House Bill No. 1510. Mississippi Legislature. Retrieved from http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2018/pdf/HB/1500-1599/HB1510SG.pdf
Attorney General of Texas. (n.d.). Advisory on Texas law upon reversal of Roe v Wade. Ken Paxton Attorney General of Texas. Retrieved from https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/images/executive-management/Post-Roe%20Advisory.pdf
Texas Legislature. (n.d.). 87(R) SB 8 – enrolled version – Texas. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved from https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/SB00008F.pdf
Texas Legislature. (n.d.). 87(R) HB 1280 – enrolled version – Texas. Texas Legislature Online. Retrieved from https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB01280F.PDF
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, October 16). Miscarriage. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354304
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, March 12). Ectopic pregnancy. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372093#