Texas AG Closes Offices Across State, Declares Annual Holiday to Mark End of Roe

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
June 25, 2022USshare
Texas AG Closes Offices Across State, Declares Annual Holiday to Mark End of Roe
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Sept. 9, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Friday he closed his offices statewide for the day “in honor of the nearly 70 million unborn babies killed in the womb since 1973,” and created an annual holiday to mark the Supreme Court decision that has overturned Roe v. Wade.

“June 24th will be an annual Office of the Attorney General holiday in recognition of this momentous decision—and the many lives lost before it,” Paxton’s office announced in a release.

“[W]e cannot forget the extraordinary violence that Roe and Casey unleashed on our nation,” the Republican attorney general said. “Because of those decisions, almost 70 million babies have been killed in the womb. And so, today at noon, I am closing all my offices as a memorial to these babies. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them. Never again should something like this happen in America.”

Texas is among the 13 states that have trigger laws to ban most abortions. However, there may be delays to their taking effect due to legal action. Other states that have trigger laws are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

The Supreme Court’s 6–3 decision on Dobbs v. Jackson strikes down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling as well as a 1992 decision known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. All Republican-appointed justices voted for the decision, while all Democrat-appointed justices dissented.

Roe had prohibited states from banning abortions before the fetus is considered “viable”—that is, potentially able to live outside its mother’s womb—deemed at the time usually around the second trimester of pregnancy at 24 weeks. Meanwhile, the Casey decision had reaffirmed the Roe ruling and prohibited laws that place an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.

“Roe v. Wade and its successor case Planned Parenthood v. Casey have absolutely no basis in the U.S. Constitution,” Paxton said in a statement. “Nevertheless, for half a century, Americans have had to live under these illegitimate, illegal, and unconstitutional dictates of a partisan, willful Supreme Court. No more. Today, the question of abortion returns to the states.”

Paxton’s office also released an official advisory (pdf) unpacking the Texas trigger law in light of the Supreme Court decision.

“Texans want to know what to expect now that Roe is overturned. The answer is that without further action by the Texas Legislature, abortion will soon be clearly illegal in Texas,” the advisory reads.

Texas’s trigger law, the Human Life Protection Act of 2021, was passed in 2021 via the Texas legislature. Paxton’s office noted that the law would take effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues an official judgment.

“Today, the [Supreme] Court issued its opinion reversing Roe, but it has yet to issue its judgment,” the advisory reads. “A judgment is a legal document distinct from the Court’s opinion. The Court will issue its judgment only after the window for the litigants to file a motion for rehearing has closed. A judgment can issue in about a month, or longer if the Court considers a motion for rehearing. So while it is clear that the Act will take effect, we cannot calculate exactly when until the Court issues its judgment.

“My office will publicly announce an effective date for the Act as soon as possible—and we look forward to doing so.”

Texas’s trigger law says that a person “may not knowingly perform, induce, or attempt an abortion” except in certain cases such as when the mother’s life is at risk due to the pregnancy.

“A person who violates the Act commits a first-degree felony if an unborn child dies as a result and incurs civil penalties of not less than $100,000 for each violation,” Paxton said in the advisory. “My office is specifically authorized to pursue and recover those civil penalties, and I will strictly enforce this law. Further, we will assist any local prosecutor who pursues criminal charges.

“Additionally, state licensing authorities are required to revoke any applicable license or permit of a health care professional who performs or attempts to perform an abortion in violation of the Act.”

In his advisory, Paxton said Friday’s Supreme Court decision means abortion laws that were on the books before Roe v. Wade are technically back in effect because they were never repealed.

From The Epoch Times

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