Origin story of Texas law that could end Roe v. Wade

A town of 1,600 people called Waskom was the first step on the road to a Texas law banning most abortions.

Origin story of Texas law that could end Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court's decision this past week not to interfere with the state's strict abortion law, provoked outrage from liberals and cheers from many conservatives. It was criticized by President Joe Biden. Many were also amazed by the fact that Texas was able to outmaneuver Supreme Court precedents on women's constitutional rights to abortion.

Texas' abortion law S.B. 8 uses a model that was first used in Waskom in 2019 to ban abortion within its borders. A former state top lawyer conceived the novel legal approach that the city uses to ban abortion at its border with Louisiana.

Mark Lee Dickson (Director of Right to Life East Texas), 36, is a Southern Baptist minister who supported Waskom's ban on abortion. Bryan Hughes, his state senator, introduced him to Jonathan F. Mitchell. Mitchell was a former top Texas lawyer. Dickson stated in an interview that Mitchell was his attorney and assisted him with the creation of the ordinance.

Waskom is protected by the ordinance because it says that city officials cannot enforce the ban on abortion. Private citizens can sue anyone who assists in getting an abortion or performs one in the city. However, the law was symbolic because there wasn't a clinic that performed abortions in the city.

Nearly thirty-six other cities in the state followed Waskom’s lead. Lubbock is one of them. This year, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Lubbock stopped performing these procedures.

Mitchell declined interviews. Dickson, however, called Mitchell a "brilliant man" and expressed gratitude for his assistance. Hughes, who was later to become the author of Texas law, also echoed these sentiments. They have been friends for many years.

Hughes did not give credit to Texas' approach, but said that many lawyers and professors helped with the legislation. 8 followed the Waskom model for how the law was enforced.

The law was signed by Republican Governor. Greg Abbott signed the law in May. It prohibits abortions after medical professionals detect cardiac activity. This is usually six weeks before most women find out they are pregnant. Twelve other states have also enacted early-in-pregnancy bans, but none have been implemented.

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