Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Last Call for Cyber Monday! Save Now on Claim 60% OFF

Texas prosecutors can't target groups that fund out-of-state abortions -judge

Published Feb 24, 2023 07:12PM ET Updated Feb 24, 2023 07:22PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dr. Franz Theard, looks at a patient's sonogram at his abortion clinic, Women's Reproductive Clinic of New Mexico in Santa Teresa, U.S., January 13, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) - Local prosecutors in Texas cannot use state laws that are more than 60 years old to prosecute organizations that help fund and arrange travel for Texans to obtain abortions in other states where it is legal, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin said that 1961 state abortion laws, which were rendered unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade establishing a nationwide right to abortion, were not revived when the Supreme Court overturned Roe last June.

The pre-Roe laws include criminal penalties for people who help others obtain an abortion.

Pitman's order, which is preliminary, will remain in place while abortion funding groups, including Fund Texas Choice, The North Texas Equal Access Fund and The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, move forward with a lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of the laws.

The order applies only to five individual local prosecutors who are named as defendants in the case, though the groups have said they will seek to expand their case to include a class of all local prosecutors in the state. Pitman said that he could issue an order applying to a broader group of prosecutors in the future, after they have had a chance to appear in court.

Pitman, who was appointed to the bench by Democratic former President Barack Obama, dismissed claims the groups had brought against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, saying he did not have the authority to enforce the pre-Roe laws.

Paxton's office and lawyers for the abortion funds and for the local prosecutors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The groups filed their lawsuit not long after last June's Supreme Court ruling, saying they risked prosecution for helping Texans obtain legal abortions in other states. They cited statements by Paxton and by some state lawmakers suggesting that the pre-Roe laws criminalized funding or facilitating such abortions.

Pitman wrote that while the pre-Roe laws could be read to criminalize helping with out-of state abortions, they were implicitly repealed when Texas passed new abortion restrictions after Roe.

He said the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had found as much in a 2004 decision rejecting a lawsuit seeking to overturn Roe by the original plaintiff in Roe, Norma McCorvey, who later became an anti-abortion activist.

Texas prosecutors can't target groups that fund out-of-state abortions -judge

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email