Watch CBS News

Reproductive rights organizations vow long-term legal fight against abortion bans in Texas

Abortion right advocates going on the defense
Abortion right advocates going on the defense 02:09

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Various abortion rights organizations and providers say they're no longer playing legal defense, and instead are going on offense against Texas and ten other states that are banning abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU told a virtual news conference Friday, "If the Supreme Court and Justice Alito and the anti-abortion advocates thought this was going to settle the question, they are going to see just how wrong they are. The proliferation of litigation that will embroil the states and the country for years to come is going to underscore the fact that this is not settled."

Earlier this week, a state judge in Harris County temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a law banning abortion that went into effect before Roe v. Wade in 1973.

That decision allowed clinics in Texas to start performing abortions if there was no cardiac activity detected.

The judge will hold a hearing on the matter July 12th.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made an emergency request of the Texas Supreme Court to vacate the lower court's decision.

Last year, the Texas Legislature approved a so-called trigger law that would take effect if the nation's highest court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Now that Supreme Court has done so, the new law in Texas will take effect by mid-August and will ban most abortions in the state except for saving the mother's life.

If convicted, doctors could face life in prison and fines of at least $100,000.

Jonathan Covey, policy director for Texas Values said Friday they're prepared for more lawsuits. "Regardless of where the court goes on the pre-Roe statutes, I think that the trigger ban is going to take effect soon and you know, abortion will be illegal, and life will be upheld."

Reproductive rights organizations said Friday they want the Biden administration to declare a public health emergency that would allow women to get medical abortion pills by telemedicine from other states. 

Alexis McGill Johnson, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said, "I believe with a public health emergency, the Biden administration would be declaring in effect that no state is going to hold hostage an American citizen and separate them from the care they need."

At the White House Friday afternoon, President Biden told nine Governors that his administration will protect women's access to medical abortion pills and the rights of women to travel to other states to seek an abortion.

Anti-abortion advocates like Covey say they want to provide more alternatives to abortion.  "Give expanded resources to pregnant women, we also need to pass legislation to safeguard pregnant and parenting college students from discrimination. And we also need to reform the adoption process to make sure that women and families have the resources that they need to thrive."

Proponents also said they'd like Congress to pass legislation guaranteeing a right to abortion.

While the Democratic majority in the House has passed a bill, there are not enough votes in the Senate to approve it as well.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.