TEXAS, USA — Texas' trigger law went into effect Thursday, banning nearly all abortions across the state.
It's one of 11 states banning nearly all abortions.
One research group shows New Mexico is the nearest state offering protection for those seeking an abortion.
That state’s nearest clinic to Houston is in Santa Teresa, which is more than 700 miles away. It’s closer to the Pacific Ocean than the Bayou City.
Many women, though, are taking this option because it's the only option they have.
“You’re talking about multiple days to them, make the trek, get the procedure, and come back. And that is only again for the patients who are able to navigate that situation and the resources that it takes to do that," said Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.
Houston-area doctors say they’re limited to performing ultrasounds, giving information and referring women looking for an abortion out of state.
Texas' trigger law makes performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to life in prison.
Prescribing medication knowing it will be used for an abortion carries the same penalty.
"In this trigger ban, there is no exception for rape or for incest, no matter how young the victim is," said Limon-Mercado.
But the new law allows exceptions for saving the mother’s life, ending an entopic pregnancy, or removing a miscarried fetus.
Abortion providers can still face civil penalties from Senate Bill 8, which was passed last year.
The “Heartbeat Bill”, as it’s known, bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity. That’s usually around six weeks of pregnancy.
"You might be able to be sued multiple times all over Texas at $10,000 a pop, plus you’re gonna lose your license," said Seth Chandler, law professor at University of Houston Law Center.
One legal expert said the Texas trigger law is written so that if a pregnant woman were to get an illegal abortion in Texas, she would not be penalized.