In a letter to Dallas law firm Sidley Austin LLP, a group of Republican state representatives warns, “To the extent that Sidley is facilitating abortions performed in violation of article 4512.1, it is exposing itself and each of its partners to felony criminal prosecution and disbarment.”
According to the Texas House Freedom Caucus, “Sidley Austin has decided to reimburse the travel costs of employees who leave Texas to murder their unborn children. It also appears that Sidley has been complicit in illegal abortions that were performed in Texas before and after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392.”
Despite last week’s news that a Harris County judge placed a temporary restraining order on a 1920s pre-Roe law banning abortion, the Texas Supreme Court dismissed the restraining order and the pre-Roe laws are in full effect.
Subsequently, Sidley Austin, which is already under investigation for possibly aiding and abetting “drug-induced abortions in violation of the Texas Heartbeat Act, by paying for abortions (or abortion-related travel),” is coming under further scrutiny for allegedly reimbursing employee travel costs for illegal abortions.
Sidley Austin is only one of many companies in Texas promising to reimburse abortion-related travel expenses for employees. Furthermore, several of these companies—such as Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Amazon, Meta, Google, and Goldman Sachs—are also receiving taxpayer funds through various economic incentive programs in Texas.
A non-exhaustive list of companies funding abortion travel can be found here.
As corporations and even local governments (particularly district attorneys) refuse to adhere to the abortion bans in Texas, the Texas House Freedom Caucus intends to introduce further legislation next session to “prohibit any employer in Texas from paying for elective abortions or reimbursing abortion-related expenses — regardless of where the abortion occurs, and regardless of the law in the jurisdiction where the abortion occurs.”
Additionally, they intend to “empower district attorneys from throughout the state to prosecute abortion-related crimes … when the local district attorney fails or refuses to do so.”
Indeed, lawmakers will be forced to reckon with the district attorney problem next session, as any conservative legislation they pass in regards to abortion, child gender mutilation, and other contentious topics will undoubtedly be challenged or ignored by liberal DAs in Harris, Travis, Dallas, and Bexar counties.