On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Human Life Protection Act banning most abortions in Texas is constitutional. 

In March 2023, the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit to challenge Texas’ abortion ban—which prohibits abortion unless the mother’s life is directly at risk from the pregnancy. The law has an exception allowing that if the mother’s life is at risk from the pregnancy, a doctor may provide an abortion. However, the Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the exception, alleging it is unclear. 

According to the Human Life Protection Act, the law permits an abortion when “in the exercise of reasonable medical judgment, the pregnant female on whom the abortion is performed, induced, or attempted has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless the abortion is performed or induced.”

In the order, the justices unanimously agreed to vacate the trial court’s injunction of the law, writing that the “injunction departed from the law as written without constitutional justification.”

“The Center argues that the State’s interest in prenatal life fades when ‘the health risks to the pregnant patient and the fetus are so severe that the pregnancy will never result in a child with sustained life.’ But in situations where the mother has such a risk, manifested as a life-threatening physical condition, current law permits an abortion to address the mother’s risk of death or serious physical impairment. We conclude that the temporary-injunction record does not demonstrate that the Act lacks a rational relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose such that the Act violates Texas’s equal protection clauses,” reads the Court’s opinion written by Justice Jane Bland. 

Attorney General Ken Paxton posted to X to celebrate the opinion:

Today, the Supreme Court of Texas unanimously upheld the Human Life Protection Act, one of our state’s pro-life laws.

I will continue to defend the laws enacted by the Legislature and uphold the values of the people of Texas by doing everything in my power to protect mothers and babies.

John Seago, president of Texas Right to Life, also celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling, telling Texas Scorecard, “Texas Right To Life applauds the Supreme Court of Texas for upholding Texas’ Pro Life laws. Over the last decade, the Texas legislature worked diligently to ensure that our definitions of abortion and medical emergency are sufficient to protect life of children threatened by abortion, as well as mothers who may face tragic circumstances, like ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, as well as medical emergencies.

“Although the law is clear, we support the ongoing efforts to fully educate medical professionals around the state on the exact meaning of Texas law and best practices in complex circumstances,” he added. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.