Roe v Wade overturned: Texas officials react to Supreme Court abortion ruling

Officials in Texas are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. 

The 6-3 ruling on the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sets in motion a series of events that will likely lead to abortion being banned or severely restricted in roughly half of the 50 states. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement saying, "The U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children." 

"Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life. Texas has also prioritized supporting women's healthcare and expectant mothers in need to give them the necessary resources so that they can choose life for their child," Abbott added. 

In his statement, Abbott says that he's "signed laws that extended Medicaid health care coverage to six months post-partum, appropriated $345 million for women's health programs, and invested more than $100 million toward our Alternatives to Abortion program. This critical program provides counseling, mentoring, care coordination, and material assistance, such as car seats, diapers, and housing to mothers in need."

"Texas will always fight for the innocent unborn, and I will continue working with the Texas legislature and all Texans to save every child from the ravages of abortion and help our expectant mothers in need.," Abbott said.

Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee who is taking on Abbott in the election this fall, released his own statement saying, "The only way to overcome today's decision is to win this race for governor."

"The Supreme Court has sent this back to the states, and our state’s current governor has outlawed abortion beginning at conception with no exception for rape or incest," O'Rourke says.

O'Rourke added, "If you care about protecting a woman’s freedom to make her own decisions about her own body, health care, and future, join this campaign and help us win."

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called the ruling "a tremendous day for life." He says that the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling "adheres to the constitution and returns the decision on abortion back to the states. Because of our trigger bill that we passed last year, in 30 days, abortion will be banned in Texas. I thank God for delivering us this day, and I am so proud that Texas has taken the lead to ensure that such evil can no longer live in our state."

"The Supreme Court's ruling is an acknowledgement of the truth: when an abortion is performed, a human life is ended. This watershed victory is not just a victory for innocent life, but a victory for all of humanity," Patrick added.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's own statement saying, "Roe v. Wade and its successor case Planned Parenthood v. Casey have absolutely no basis in the U.S. Constitution. Nevertheless, for half a century, Americans have had to live under these illegitimate, illegal, and unconstitutional dictates of a partisan, willful Supreme Court. No more."

"Today, the question of abortion returns to the states. And in Texas, that question has already been answered: abortion is illegal here. I look forward to defending the pro-life laws of Texas and the lives of all unborn children moving forward," Paxton said.

Paxton's statement also announced he was closing his agency's offices today starting at noon to honor the nearly 70 million unborn babies killed in the womb since 1973.

Rochelle Garza, the Democratic candidate running for Texas Attorney General against Paxton, responded to the ruling as well saying, "I’m running for Texas Attorney General to fight for Texas families and that includes their constitutional right to reproductive freedom."

"The Supreme Court decision to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent recognizing the constitutional right to bodily autonomy and abortion access will have terrible repercussions for the working families of Texas, and will disproportionately impact women of color, people living in poverty, and rural communities. When I’m Texas’ Attorney General, I will work to restore abortion access and reproductive freedom. This fight is not over, we will stand strong," Garza added.

Texans react to Supreme Court abortion ruling

U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who currently represents Texas's 35th Congressional District which encompasses parts of San Antonio and Austin, issued the following statement: 

"As a result of this cruel decision, too many women will needlessly suffer and die. I share the anger that so many feel at this dangerous decision, carrying us backward on abortion and setting the precedent for even more regression from this activist Supreme Court. In response, days of rage are no substitute for what can make a real difference—sustained days of action. It is not enough to vent, rally or march, and go home."

"Such gatherings are important, but only if they lead to the much more laborious work of seeking meaningful change through the often slow and frustrating democratic process. Reducing the far-reaching harm from today’s decision will only happen through the ballot box, not the courthouse. Now is the time to demand accountability from every elected official on reproductive freedom—encouraging allies and replacing those who are not."

U.S. Representative Michael Cloud

Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, who currently represents the 27th Congressional District of Texas which includes thirteen counties along the coastal bend of Texas going north to almost Austin and up the coast to almost Houston, issued the following statement:

"Today will be remembered in our nation’s history as one of the greatest milestones in the fight for life."

 "The rescinding of Roe v. Wade will be a major step in America’s journey to protect the unborn. Our God-given rights depend on safeguarding the first essential, inalienable right —the right to life."

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas released the following join statement from Jeffrey Hons, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood South Texas; Melaney A. Linton, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast; and Ken Lambrecht, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas:

"Today, the U.S. Supreme Court erased nearly 50 years of history and its responsibility to uphold legal precedent. This deplorable ruling by the Court’s conservative majority strips Americans of their constitutional rights and further erodes abortion access in Texas. This dangerous outcome opens the floodgates for more states across the country to ban abortion."

"Texans know all too well the reality of living in a post-Roe world. For more than nine months under S.B 8, Texans have been denied access to abortion in their own state and have been forced to continue a pregnancy, seek abortion outside the health care system, or travel hundreds or even thousands of miles if they can secure the funds, time off from work, child care, and transportation needed to access abortion out of state. Providers have been forced to turn away patients. It’s heartbreaking and completely preventable."

"Forcing someone to continue a pregnancy against their will is a grave violation of human rights and dignity. All Americans deserve to live under a rule of law that respects their bodily autonomy and reproductive decisions. Let’s be clear: today’s ruling and its unraveling of Roe v. Wade will not end the need for abortion. This decision will have damaging effects for generations. And we know the impacts of this decision will fall hardest on the communities who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care—particularly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, LGBTQ+ people, undocumented people, and those having difficulty making ends meet."

"The fate of Roe is not the fate of Planned Parenthood. Today our doors are open and they will remain open to serve Texans who need access to essential reproductive health care. Our priority will remain restoring and expanding access to that care, including abortion, for all Texans."

Texas Medical Association

The Texas Medical Association is the largest state medical society in the nation and represents more than 56,000 physician and medical student members. It's President Gary W. Floyd, MD issued the following statement:

"TMA remains committed to protecting the privacy and sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. TMA is unwavering in its stance against intrusions by government or other third parties that impede the patient-physician relationship, and any criminalization of acceptable and appropriate medical practices that may jeopardize that relationship or patients’ safety.

"Especially in high-risk situations, patients need to know their physicians will be there to care for them, and TMA will continue to work with state lawmakers to ensure a safe practice environment for physicians and their patients."

Republican Party of Texas

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi issued the following statement:

"Today is a historic day which Republicans and Pro-Life advocates have waited for a generation. It will be remembered in history as the day the United States of America reversed one of the most unjust, damaging and plainly incorrect judicial decisions in it's history. Thankfully, the left's egregious attack on our government institutions failed, and justice was done. We also are grateful for the work of Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, Sen. Angela Paxton, and the Republican and Democrat legislators who passed the law which will now protect the lives of all unborn children in Texas."

"The Republican Party of Texas continues to support facilitating adoptions and providing assistance to mothers in need both during and after their pregnancies. During the 87th Texas Legislature funding was greatly increased for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which received a total of $100 million for the biennium. This program gives mothers access to needed resources during and after their pregnancy. The program assists new mothers and their children by providing items like diapers, formula, car seats, and classes on pregnancy and parenting. Additionally, private nonprofit crisis pregnancy centers like Birth Choice in Dallas, the Trotter House in Austin, and Houston Pregnancy Help Center in Houston provide services to assist mothers both during and after pregnancy."

Texas Democrats

Texas Democratic Party Co-Executive Director Hannah Roe Beck issued the following statement:

"Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court enshrined in Roe v. Wade the fundamental right to reproductive freedom for all Americans. Today, our worst fear was realized: the Court has overturned that ruling, ending the federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and threatening the reproductive liberty of millions of Americans. 

"No child or adult should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will. By supporting this decision and enacting legislation like the ‘trigger’ law, Greg Abbott and Texas Republicans have made it clear they are hellbent on doing just that. With the passage of Texas’s six-week abortion ban, these radical far-right conservatives have already made Texas an incredibly dangerous place to live for the millions who sought to exercise their previously-protected right to abortion. Now, Texas has become exponentially more dangerous with the activation of this dystopian and extremist law.  

"Nevertheless, we cannot and will not stop fighting. Make no mistake: Texas Democrats will not sit idly by as Republicans threaten the lives and liberty of millions of Texans. 

"Today’s decision is a blaring, five-alarm call to action. It is more important than ever that we send to Washington true, fearless leaders who are ready to fight to codify abortion at the federal level.  It is more important than ever that we elect Beto O’Rourke as governor, flip the Texas Legislature, and elect Democrats up and down the ticket who will overturn Greg Abbott’s draconian and brutal laws imposing the will of a tiny minority on the entirety of our state. 

"We cannot tolerate anything less. This is the moment to organize, raise our voices, and create change. The urgency of protecting abortion access has never been greater; the threat to our livelihoods and freedoms has never been more immediate. 

"This November, Texans have a choice: radical conservatives running on a platform of anti-freedom and anti-Texan authoritarianism, forced birth, and human suffering – or Democrats up and down the ticket who will cushion the blow of today’s national trauma by ensuring Texans can live without fear of forfeiting the right to their most basic bodily autonomy. 

"The choice is clear. The moment to act is right now."

Harris County District Attorney

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg issued the following statement:

"The criminalization of reproductive health will cause great harm to women in America; prosecutors and police have no role in matters between doctors and patients. As in every case, we will evaluate the facts and make decisions on a case-by-case basis."

Texas State Senator Sarah Eckhardt

Texas State Senator Sarah Eckhardt, who represents Bastrop and Travis Counties, issued the following statement:

"Today the Supreme Court has opened the gates to a cruel new reality for women in a state that ranks at or near the bottom in education, child and maternal health care, mental health, child hunger and more. Women will be forced into childbirth without adequate medical and social support. The long-term consequences to these women, their families and our society will be dire."

"Thirty days from now (July 24th), the so-called ‘Trigger Law’ will go into effect in Texas, making it a felony punishable by up to life in prison for a medical professional to perform an abortion, including in cases of rape and incest.

"For Texans with financial means, access to abortion will remain available through travel to other states. But for Texans without financial means, lack of access to reproductive healthcare generally and abortion specifically will further widen the opportunity gap as well as endanger the health of women and babies.

"Abortion is a medically important part of reproductive healthcare, and I will continue to fight for the Constitutional rights of all Texans to have timely access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare. I ask any Texan who believes in personal liberty and a minimally intrusive government to join in that fight."

Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett

Democratic Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett, who currently represents the 100th district and is running in the upcoming 2022 U.S. House of Representatives election for Texas 30th Congressional District, issued the following statement: 

"Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land and landmark Supreme Court precedent my entire lifetime. My mother and foremothers lived during a time when women couldn’t even open bank accounts unless they had permission from their husbands. Roe didn’t only grant women bodily autonomy and the right to privacy as equal to the rights of a man, it also allowed us greater self-determination. There are currently no laws making decisions about the male body, yet there are over a dozen laws about the woman’s body I can rattle off the top of my head. One out of four women have had an abortion — this means we all love someone who has had an abortion, whether we know it or not.

"It’s cruel and indefensible that this decision comes at a time when Americans are already suffering from record inflation, skyrocketing rent and mortgages, can’t afford the prices at the pumps, can’t even find formula at the store, and are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. "

"In Texas, we’ve been living for the past nine months in a ‘post-Roe’ world. Abortion procedures, even self-managed and medication abortion, have been banned before most realize they are pregnant. Before SB8, Texas already had the most restrictive abortion laws placing an undue burden on patients and providers."

"When voters of Texas’ 30th Congressional District trusted me as their next congresswoman, I made a promise to never back down from a fight worth fighting. Before this decision was dropped I already knew, regardless of what the Court decided, it is incumbent upon Congress to act to restore balance to the Court and codify the protections from Roe into law — and that’s only the floor for protecting abortion rights and reproductive justice. This is far from over and in fact the fight has only just begun." 

Texas House Democratic Caucus

The Texas House Democratic Caucus is composed of all Democrats in the Texas House. Chair Chris Turner issued the following statement:

"Today is a dark day for our country and our state. It is appalling that the Supreme Court would strip a liberty granted to American women for half a century. Further, as a result of the cruel actions taken by Governor Greg Abbott and Republicans in the Legislature in passing a ‘trigger ban’ last year, abortion will be completely illegal in Texas in 30 days. This horrific reality takes Texas back in time to a world where women will be forced into impossible situations – either let Republicans in Austin make their reproductive decisions for them or consider dangerous measures. Texas women deserve so much better. 

"While this decision is undoubtedly a devastating step backwards, we must recommit to fighting for a woman’s autonomy over her own health decisions – that means electing leaders who are not determined to take away their constituents’ healthcare and defeating those who do."  

Texas Right to Life

Texas Right to Life, which says its mission is to legally, peacefully, and prayerfully protect the God-given Right to Life of innocent human beings from fertilization to natural death, issued a statement on its website saying in part:

"This is a landmark day for the Pro-Life movement and our entire nation. After staining the moral fabric of our country for nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade is no more."

"Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concerned a Mississippi Pro-Life law that defends babies from abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Showing the humanity of the preborn child, our movement’s prudent strategy led the court to confront the moral and legal flaws of Roe."

"After nearly 50 years, Roe has been responsible for the deaths of over 60 million preborn American children. Today, the Supreme Court has finally overturned the grievous error of Roe v. Wade that has cost so many precious lives."

"Now, the abortion question will return to the states, authorizing state governments to set their own laws without being suffocated by federal courts."

Greg Casar

Former Austin City Council member and current Democratic nominee for Texas's 35th Congressional District Greg Casar issued the following statement:

"Our nation must take immediate action in response to this horrible decision by right-wing, Trump-appointed justices. We must immediately direct public funds and private donations to help people get abortion care outside of Texas, beginning in one month. We must push all district attorneys and police departments to not arrest or prosecute Texans under these draconian anti-abortion laws. And we must fight like hell to expand the Supreme Court and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Texans will not stop fighting back, every day, until this horrific ruling is undone."

Catholic Bishop of Austin

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin includes 127 parishes, or faith communities, in 25 counties in Central Texas. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez leads the diocese and issued the following statement:

"I am grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision that upholds the gift of life given to us by God.  The Church’s commitment to protect human life from conception until natural death remains steadfast. I hope this ruling is met with genuine respect for one another and care for the common good," says the Most Reverend Joe Vásquez, Bishop of Austin."

"While this decision places the issue of whether to permit elective abortions before each state legislature and does not prohibit abortion across the country, it is a major step in helping to save lives by protecting children in the womb."

"The Church continues to pray for and publicly support decisions like this and will continue to advocate with state legislatures to protect our nation’s most vulnerable – unborn children and the mothers who are carrying a child in their wombs.  We remain committed and will not waiver in accompanying mothers who face unplanned pregnancies."