Texas Activists Rally Against ‘Abortion Trafficking’: A Rising Concern

Texas-based conservative advocates are promoting new legislations that would prevent individuals from using particular routes to assist others in traveling out of state for abortions. Nonetheless, some local representatives who endorse the state’s restrictive anti-abortion policies are hesitating, fearing that these new measures might be overly aggressive, as highlighted by The Washington Post.

Following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade last year, several states have criminalized abortion. Now, a pair of Texan cities have prohibited what a section of anti-abortion advocates label as “abortion trafficking.”

The initiative, led by Mark Lee Dickson, the head of Right to Life of East Texas, in collaboration with the former Texas solicitor general, Jonathan Mitchell, is working towards systematically banning abortion in various cities across the state.

Dickson explains that the term “abortion trafficking” denotes assisting a pregnant woman in traveling across state borders to terminate her pregnancy, which could involve offering transportation, financial help, or any other kind of assistance. According to him, this definition encompasses all individuals seeking abortions, as he believes the fetus is involuntarily involved in the process.

Dickson conveyed to the Post, “We are essentially constructing a barrier to curb abortion trafficking.” When queried about the legal standing of his proposals, he referred to the Mann Act of 1910, a federal statute that criminalizes the transportation of females for immoral purposes, drawing a parallel to his initiative.

Recently, in the city of Llano, a pivotal junction for several highways, the majority of the local officials opted to postpone the enactment of Ordinance 1501. This ordinance, if passed, would establish Llano as a safe haven advocating for the rights of unborn children. Laura Almond, a committed conservative and member of the city council, expressed her reservations during a late August council session, stating, “This topic necessitates further discussion. I am laden with queries.”

Legal expert Mary Ziegler, stationed at the University of California at Davis with a specialization in abortion-related law, mentioned to the Post that the steps taken by Mitchell and Dickson aren’t explicitly acknowledging a potential breach of the constitution. However, they are indeed making it substantially difficult for anyone to counteract their moves.

Neesha DavĂ©, the chief officer of the Lilith Fund, a Texas-based organization focused on abortion issues, remarked that the actual intention behind these legislations is not to enforce them rigorously. She noted, “The underlying objective here is to instill fear and create confusion.”