Trigger Law Statutory Cite(s)

Does this law have a potential impact on IVF/Reproductive medicine?

Why or why not?

The statute does not appear to be applicable to IVF and reproductive medicine services prior to implantation of embryos. 

Does this law explicitly reference IVF, assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine?

There are no explicit references to IVF or reproductive medicine services. 
  • “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?

The law does not appear to be applicable to ART procedures. 

Relevant definitions

  • 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?

Abortion is defined with the same meaning as Section 245.002 regarding licensure of abortion facilities. 

What is the “trigger” for this law to take effect?

Trigger law takes 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. 

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