Trigger Law Statutory Cite(s)
Texas Statutes & Court Rules | Chapter 170A. Performance of Abortion
Health & Safety Code
Does this law have a potential impact on IVF/Reproductive medicine?
Why or why not?
Does this law explicitly reference IVF, assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine?
- “Abortion” is specifically defined as an act intending cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.”
- As pregnancy requires “a living unborn child within [the pregnant woman’s] body” a fertilized embryo that is not within a pregnant woman’s body would likely not be within the scope of this law.
- The statute does define an unborn child as existing from fertilization until birth, but the prohibition is limited to abortion of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.
Are there any penalties in this law that could apply to ART procedures?
- “Abortion” means the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant. The term does not include birth control devices or oral contraceptives. An act is not an abortion if it is done with the intent to:
- Save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child;
- Remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by spontaneous abortion; or
- Remove an ectopic pregnancy.
- “Fertilization” means the point in time when a male human sperm penetrates the zona pellucida of a female human ovum.
- “Pregnant” means the female human reproductive condition of having a living or unborn child within the female’s body during the entire embryonic and fetal stages of the unborn child’s development from fertilization until birth.
- “Unborn child” means an individual living member of the homo sapiens species from fertilization until birth, including the entire embryonic and fetal stages of development.
Do the definitions/terms of the trigger law apply to other areas of state code?
What is the “trigger” for this law to take effect?
- 30 days after Roe v. Wade is overturned without further action required;
- The issuance of a Supreme Court judgment that recognizes the authority of the states to prohibit abortion; or
- Adoption of an amendment to the United States Constitution that restores to states the authority to prohibit abortion.
Key provisions: What does the law prohibit and when does it apply?
- Anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion is subject to a second-degree felony offense or a first-degree felony if the unborn child dies as a result.
- A person will also be subjected to a civil penalty of no less than $100,000 for each violation.
- A civil suit may also be brought against them.
- There is an exception for a pregnant person whose life is in danger or at serious risk of substantial and irreversible bodily function.