Texas was once again at the forefront of some of the biggest legal stories of the year. The following are the state’s top stories of 2022 as determined by the staff of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.
Texas’ Abortion Trigger Law Triggers Range of Responses
In August, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling not only overturned the landmark precedent of Roe v. Wade, but also “triggered” a controversial Texas law that made performing an abortion in the state a felony punishable by up to life in prison.
The law criminalizes performing an abortion from the moment of fertilization unless the pregnant woman is facing “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy.” In fear of possible prosecution, many providers across Texas had already stopped performing the procedure earlier in the year.
Texas joins at least 12 other states with an abortion ban, with similar legislation pending in more than a dozen others. Conversely, voters have since added protections for abortion rights in California, Vermont, Michigan, Kentucky and Kansas. Judges in other states have temporarily blocked bans from taking effect in order to hear challenges against them.
Meanwhile, some district attorneys in Texas – including those in heavily populated Harris, Bexar, Travis and Dallas counties – have indicated a reluctance to prosecute reported violations, citing a lack of resources and the impracticalities of enforcement. In response, a group of conservative Texas lawmakers introduced legislation that would allow prosecutors from other parts of the state to enforce the law, even if outside their jurisdiction.
Other already-filed bills would allow a woman to get an abortion if her pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or incest, or when it’s necessary to save her life or physical or protect her mental well-being. Abortions would also be allowed under this bill if there’s a lethal diagnosis to the fetus or one that would require extraordinary medical intervention to keep it alive outside the womb.