Abortion Still Illegal in Texas Despite Narrow Temporary Restraining Order 

By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life

A Harris County judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking some government officials from enforcing Texas’ pre-Roe abortion bans against several abortion clinics. However, an abortionist who commits an abortion in Texas today could still be prosecuted for homicide.

The abortion facilities asked the judge to block Texas’ pre-Roe abortion bans against a handful of specific abortion providers. These laws, which were never repealed, regained effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. The liberal judge sided with the abortionists, and the pre-Roe laws can’t be enforced against the plaintiffs. 

However, the 2021 Texas Heartbeat Act explicitly stated the Texas Legislature has not repealed any of its pre-Roe restrictions on abortion.

The temporary restraining order from yesterday morning only narrowly blocks one avenue of legally stopping elective abortions in Texas. Thus, despite the best efforts of the abortion industry, Texas can still prosecute abortionists for murder under Texas law, specifically under Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code. This chapter prohibits homicide, stating that it “does not apply to the death of an unborn child if the conduct charged is… a lawful medical procedure…”

Texas Right to Life attorney Emily Cook added: 

“Although some government officials are temporarily blocked from enforcing the pre-Roe statutes against certain abortion clinics, the law is still valid and abortion is no longer a ‘lawful medical procedure.’ This means that abortion is considered homicide under the Texas Penal Code and can be prosecuted as such.”

The temporary restraining order merely stops some government officials from bringing charges against these specific plaintiffs using the pre-Roe statutes. Prosecutors can still use the current homicide statutes in the Penal Code to bring charges against these abortion facilities. Moreover, the Texas Heartbeat Act and its civil enforcement mechanism is still in effect and saving the lives of preborn children with detectable heartbeats. Finally, the Trigger Ban will become active and begin banning abortion in Texas 30 days after the judgement in Dobbs is formally entered.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton already appealed the anti-Life ruling from a Houston judge and echoed these arguments. 

Abortionists’ attempt to continue their evil and deadly business is despicable, and the abortion industry should be held fully accountable for their lawlessness. We expect that our laws will be fully enforced, saving thousands of preborn lives.