A new piece in the Houston Chronicle “Opinion: Texans, Brace for Surveillance and Criminal Charges After Abortion Ruling” by Elizabeth Sepper and Kari White warns Texans of the future of abortion care.
Abortion care is diminishing rapidly across the United States. Here are 5 things Texans can expect when abortion is banned.
Bans will criminalize abortion.
The Texas “trigger ban” will ban abortion at any stage of pregnancy. There is not an exception for rape or incest. A slate of other restrictions impose criminal and civil charges.
Pregnant people may face criminal charges.
Texas’ abortion-specific laws exempt pregnant people who have had an abortion, but other laws could still be invoked. There have been criminal charges against people who have had miscarriages or stillbirths.
Mailed abortion medication will be difficult to detect.
It is illegal to help a pregnant person obtain medical abortion pills through mail or delivering them, but it will be hard to detect these crimes.
Digital surveillance is possible.
The state can engage with electronic surveillance, which could be used as evidence to prosecute someone for mailing medication or otherwise helping someone get an abortion. This includes apps used to track menstrual cycles.
Expect ripples across healthcare system, including pregnancy.
Care providers will be worried about the prospects of committing a crime and be unwilling to treat people. This means people with serious pregnancy complications may have to wait until their life is a stake or fetal cardiac activity can no longer be detected before getting adequate care. Pregnancies with life-limiting fetal anomalies will have to be continued, unless able to leave the state.