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Houston Women's Commission shares concerns over enforcement of Texas' abortion trigger law

"With the trigger laws going into effect, Houston will be one of the largest cities in the country with no access to abortions services,” said Merfish.

HOUSTON — Texas' abortion trigger law is set to go into effect on August 25 after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its final judgment on the case that overturned Roe v. Wade. 

Houston leaders have meetings in the works to discuss the enforcement of the new laws.  

RELATED: SCOTUS issues official judgment on Roe v. Wade prompting Texas' trigger law

“We are watching what's going on in Texas we are looking at what every city is doing thinking about what’s possible,” said Beth Matusoff Merfish, the Chair of the city of Houston’s Women's Commission.   

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office sent out updated guidelines Wednesday on the state's trigger law.

It will make nearly all abortions in the state felony crimes and doctors could face life in prison and fines up to $100,000. The only exception to the trigger law is that women can get abortions if their lives are at risk.

Under the law there will only be three exceptions that a pregnancy can be terminated:

  • Saving a life or to preserve the health of an unborn baby 
  • Ending an ectopic pregnancy 
  • Removing a dead, unborn child whose death as caused by a spontaneous abortion.  

RELATED: Gov. Abbott speaks to KHOU 11 about issues in Texas, including Uvalde and abortion

"With the trigger laws going into effect, Houston will be one of the largest cities in the country with no access to abortion services,” said Merfish.  

She said the commission is looking at several things, including maternal mortality rates, and healthcare inequality, issues the commission believes could lead to a public health crisis. 

Merfish said the commission is worried about the fear of prosecution once the trigger law goes into effect. 

"I can say, we all on the women’s commission would really love to see Harris County D.A. Kim Ogg make a statement similar to those DA’s across the state in which she pledges not to prosecute these cases," Merfish said. 

RELATED: Texas universities grapple with how to provide reproductive health care information to students amid new abortion laws

The Harris County District Attorney's Office issued the following statement on the trigger law:

“The criminalization of reproductive health will cause great harm to women in America; prosecutors and police have no role in matters between doctors and patients. As in every case, we will evaluate the facts and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.” 

Merfish said the city will be looking at ways it can provide some layer of protection against the law.

“In a city with the largest healthcare medical center in the world, that we will have people that are afraid to go to the hospital because they are afraid of being prosecuted or afraid that they won’t be treated properly is really terrifying," she said.

The women’s commission is set to meet with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sometime next week.

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