Texas Law Penalizes Distribution of Abortion Pills After 7 Weeks

Texas Law Penalizes Distribution of Abortion Pills After 7 Weeks Texas Law Penalizes Distribution of Abortion Pills After 7 Weeks The abortion drug Mifepristone, also known as RU486. ( Phil Walter/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 21 September 2021 07:39 PM

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has signed another Texas abortion law to much less fanfare, adding restrictions and raising the penalties for distributing abortion-inducing medication, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Senate Bill 4 was signed during the second Texas special session that ended Sept. 2 and will go into effect in December, prevents physicians or providers from giving out abortion-inducing drugs after seven weeks of pregnancy and increases the criminal penalties for "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" violating Texas abortion bans.

Also, the bill leaves the potential for serious legal consequences for those mailing abortion-inducing drugs to Texas.

Violations of the law would be a state jail felony and carry fines of up to $10,000 and between 180 days and two years of imprisonment, according to the report.

A state Democrat, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., said the bill will require physician oversight for those taking abortion-inducing medication.

"Doctors need to be present when patients receive these drugs so the patient knows what to expect from normal side effects and what needs to be addressed quickly before it turns into a serious issue," Lucio said during a Senate committee hearing this summer, according to the News.

The S.B. 4 bill is in addition to the Senate Bill 8, which controversially leaves doctors vulnerable to civil lawsuits for aiding abortions after a fetal heartbeat is observed, at roughly six weeks.

Supporters of abortion decry the limits being placed on a women's access to abortions after a fetal heartbeat.

"Anti-choice politicians have made their intentions abundantly clear, and they will stop at nothing to strip away reproductive freedom," Adrienne Kimmell, acting president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the News.

Out-of-state mail-order abortion medication providers might also face an extradition process into the state of Texas, according to state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, who sponsored the bill.

But that measure will be very difficult to enforce, according to If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice attorney Farah Diaz-Tello.

"I don't anticipate that if people who are doing things in places where they're legal, that their governments are going to cooperate with these radical prosecutions," Diaz-Tello told the News.