February 27, 2023
Federal Ruling Protects Texas Abortion Funds’ Ability to Pay for Out-of-State Abortions and Travel
Victory for abortion advocates: Paxton cannot prosecute abortion funds or healthcare providers for assisting Texans with out-of-state abortions, federal injunction protects plaintiffs against criminalization
TEXAS — Today, plaintiffs in a pro-abortion lawsuit released a statement in response to a federal ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman on February 24th, indicating that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton cannot enforce the state’s abortion ban on abortions that are obtained outside state lines — allowing abortion funds to provide financial assistance to Texans seeking an abortion out of state and allowing Texas healthcare providers to continue caring for Texans without fear of criminal prosecution.
Joint statement from Texas Abortion Funds and Practical Support Organizations, plaintiffs in the lawsuit:
“No extremist, anti-abortion politician should be able to prevent Texans from leaving the state to seek abortion care. All Texans deserve the right to control their reproductive lives and futures. The state’s abortion ban has had devastating impacts on all pregnant Texans, especially on our hotline callers, who are mostly working people, people of color, and young people. Texans should be able to access abortion care in their own communities when they need it without delay, and we’re looking forward to supporting Texans who are forced to leave the state to access abortion.”
Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, abortion provider and plaintiff, said:
“Abortion care is a necessary part of healthy pregnancies and thriving communities – every Texan deserves timely access to abortion care. As an OB/GYN and a Texas-based abortion provider, I know all abortion bans are medically unnecessary, imprecise tools of reproductive oppression that harm the people I care for. I’m proud to provide full-spectrum reproductive healthcare, even when that means leaving the state to continue caring for my neighbors. This ruling helps me continue providing healthcare for people in other states without fear of criminalization at home. As long as Texans’ rights to abortion are withheld, abortion providers will continue to fight for a Texas that puts patient care first.”
The lawsuit challenged the state’s authority to go after individuals, organizations, and businesses that help pregnant Texans obtain an abortion outside the state. Plaintiffs filed in August of last year a few days before HB1280, better known as the Trigger Ban, went into effect.
Elizabeth Myers, partner at Thompson & Coburn, LLP, who represents the abortion funds and provider, said:
“Under this ruling, no state official can enforce the Trigger Ban against anyone who helps a Texan obtain an abortion out of state where abortion care is legal.”
Judge Pitman’s ruling also protects the plaintiffs from criminalization under the pre-Roe statutes and acknowledges the seriousness of threats made by Attorney General Paxton against abortion funds, practical support organizations, abortion providers, and all Texans. The ruling reaffirms key constitutional rights to provide information, funding, healthcare, and support to Texans in need of care.
The plaintiffs in the case are Fund Texas Choice, Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund, Frontera Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network, Lilith Fund, and Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi.
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