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VERIFY: All abortions are not banned when Texas' 'trigger law' goes into effect

University of Houston law professor Seth Chandler verifies claims on the trigger law that goes into effect Thursday, August 25.

TEXAS, USA — A new law that goes into effect on August 25 tightens restrictions on abortions in Texas.

The VERIFY team wants you to have all the facts on the new "trigger law," so it took some of your questions and concerns to Seth Chandler, Ph.D., at the University of Houston Law Center.

Claim: Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

TRUE: Chandler said, “The Supreme Court overturned it last June in a case called Dobbs v. Jackson.”

Claim: Texas doctors who perform an abortion could face criminal penalties.

TRUE: Chandler said, “That's the point of the trigger law is to make sure that Texas doctors who perform abortions in most circumstances will face criminal penalties.

Claim: All abortions are banned in Texas.

FALSE: Chandler said, “Abortions are permitted to save the life of the mother. Moreover, removal of an ectopic pregnancy is not considered an abortion.”

Claim: The new Texas law will increase civil penalties for doctors

POTENTIALLY TRUE: Chandler said, “There are already potential serious civil problems for doctors who perform abortions in Texas under SB 8. This bill provides another route by which doctors could for example, lose their license if they perform an abortion.”

Claim: Texas women who fly to another state to have an abortion could face prosecution when they return.

FALSE: Chandler said, “Under the current law, it is not a crime to seek an abortion, get an abortion out of state, nor return to Texas having done so.”

Claim: The trigger law exempts the pregnant patient from prosecution.

TRUE: Chandler said, “It does. The woman cannot be prosecuted under the trigger law.”

Claim: A doctor who terminates a woman's pregnancy for medical reasons, can no longer do so in Texas.

TRUE: Chandler said, “Only if the life of the mother is in serious danger.”

Claim: Doctors who help women find a way to get an abortion out of state could be prosecuted.

FALSE: Chandler said, “Because the Texas law only covers abortions performed in Texas, there is no indication that it takes the unusual step of trying to extend jurisdiction beyond Texas.”

Claim: Organizations that help give women the means to get an abortion can face penalties.

TRUE: Chandler said, “Aiding and abetting an abortion in Texas is itself is a crime, even if it's a nonprofit organization, even if it's just the person trying to help out. Under the Texas trigger law, they can face prosecution.”

Claim: Texas doctors can no longer prescribe abortion pills.

TRUE: Chandlers said, “The only exception would be where the life of the mother was seriously threatened, and the abortion pill would fix that.”

Claim: Under this new law, doctors cannot perform a D&C on a patient who has miscarried.

FALSE: Chandler said, “The law only prohibits the abortion of a fetus that is alive.”

Claim: Doctors can perform abortions on a vessel that is off the coast of Texas.

TRUE: Chandler said, “Yes, they can. The Texas abortion statute prohibits abortions that are performed within the geographic boundaries of Texas. It does not purport to extend jurisdiction beyond those borders.

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