Texas Law Penalizes Distribution of Abortion Pills After 7 Weeks


Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has signed another Texas abortion law to much less fanfare, adding restrictions and raising the penalties for distributing abortion-inducing drugs, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Senate Bill 4 was signed during the second Texas special session that ended Sept. 2 and will go into effect in December, prevents physicians or providers from giving out abortion-inducing drugs after seven weeks of pregnancy and increases the criminal penalties for “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” violating Texas abortion bans.

The law also leaves the potential for serious legal consequences for those mailing abortion-inducing drugs to Texas.

Breaking the law would be a felony and carry a fine of up to $10,000 and between 180 days and two years of imprisonment, according to the report.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., a Democrat, said the bill will require physician oversight for those taking abortion-inducing medication.

“Doctors need to be present when patients receive these drugs so the patient knows what to expect from normal side effects and what needs to be addressed quickly before it turns into a serious issue,” Lucio said in a Senate committee hearing this summer, according to the Morning News.

S.B. 4 is in addition to Senate Bill 8, which leaves doctors vulnerable to lawsuits for aiding abortions once fetal cardiac activity has been detected, at roughly six weeks into pregnancy.

Supporters of abortion rights decry the limits being placed on women’s access to abortion.

“Anti-choice politicians have made their intentions abundantly clear, and they will stop at nothing to strip away reproductive freedom,” Adrienne Kimmell, acting president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Morning News.

Out-of-state mail-order abortion medication providers might also face an extradition process into the state of Texas, according to state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, who sponsored the bill.

But that measure will be difficult to enforce, according to If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice attorney Farah Diaz-Tello.

“I don’t anticipate that if people who are doing things in places where they’re legal, that their governments are going to cooperate with these radical prosecutions,” Diaz-Tello told the Morning News.