Texas jurisdictions to weigh bans on transport for abortions

October 23, 2023

Two Texas jurisdictions this week were set to consider measures to outlaw transporting another person on their roads for the purpose of seeking an abortion. 

Commissioners in Lubbock County were set to vote on their proposed abortion transport ban on Monday while the Amarillo City Council would weigh its own such law on Tuesday. 

The city council’s actions in Amarillo could potentially lead to a city-wide vote on the issue. 

Lubbock and Amarillo are the two largest jurisdictions in Texas among 10 that have proposed such bans since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and the Constitutional right to abortion in June 2022.

Texas currently has one of the most stringent abortion laws of any state in the union, banning the procedure after the sixth week of pregnancy—before most women know they’re pregnant. It’s one of 11 states with near-total bans on abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Major highways stretch across both Lubbock and Amarillo into neighboring New Mexico, where abortion is legal—though a handful of border towns within that state, calling themselves “sanctuaries for the unborn,” are in legal disputes with their state’s Attorney General over locally-imposed abortion bans.

Opponents of abortion say the transport ban proposals aim to bolster current Texas law, which allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. 

Abortion advocates see the transport bans as a deterrent against those who’d seek an abortion out of state or help others to do so. 

In the five smaller Texas jurisdictions that have already adopted such transport bans, no violations have so far been reported. 

Authorities are relying on citizen enforcement of the transport bans, which could make them difficult to challenge in court. 

PHOTO: Lubbock County, Texas

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