HOUSTON — The Supreme Court of the United States on Friday issued an opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, giving states the legal footing to create their own laws regarding abortion.
There are 13 states, including Texas, that have "trigger laws" on the books restricting or banning abortion access the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Attorney David Coale said he wasn't surprised by the court's decision.
"If you want an abortion, you are going to have to travel to a state where it is legal," he said.
People leaving the state to receive abortion care is nothing new in Texas, ever since the state's Senate Bill 8 took effect in September 2021. The bill bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected at around 6 weeks.
KHOU 11 took a look at the data from the Oklahoma Department of Health. The number of abortions from Texas patients jumped from 341 in 2020 to 1,327 in 2021.
"As time goes by, you may confront laws and efforts to restrict your ability to travel to another state," said Coale.
He expects Texas lawmakers will eventually debate whether to make it illegal for a person to travel out of state, or to assist someone traveling out of state, to receive an abortion.
Texas' trigger law bans abortions unless the mother's life is at risk. Doctors who perform abortions anyways could face life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Despite this, it will still be up to local authorities whether to prosecute.
“Local DA’s are going to have to make decisions about whether they are going to prosecute people under the new criminal laws they are asked to enforce," said Coale.
President Joe Biden said on Friday he would defend women's rights to travel safely to another state to seek health care.
Companies like Disney, Netflix and Dick's Sporting Goods have also come out to say they will reimburse travel expenses for employees seeking abortions out of state.