Expert chats whether Texas will criminalize inter-state abortion travel after Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade

Travel between states for abortion purposes could become legislative battle.
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Access to contraceptive care will remain largely the same for Panhandle residents who for years have needed to drive hundreds of miles to other cities and states.

This comes following the Supreme Court ruling last week effectively overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years ago.

Christopher Macaulay, an assistant professor of political science at West Texas A&M, says he expects many legislative battles to happen in the coming months, but that driving to New Mexico will likely remain a viable option.

“What this effectively does, is it leaves it up to the states to decide abortion policy,” Macaulay said.

Worried about possible lawsuits, multiple state non-profits stopped offering to help with access to contraceptive care following the ruling.

“We’re in kind of uncharted legal territory,” Macaulay said.

Macaulay added the Texas legislature is considering legislation which would make it illegal to travel to other states for contraceptive care - an issue that would likely reach higher to higher courts.

“I can tell you pretty confidently, you will still be able to travel to New Mexico to receive an abortion,” Macaulay said. “The question is whether or not Texas will try to make that illegal, and more importantly, whether or not they will succeed.”

The most recent data from the Texas Department of State and Health services shows Amarillo has an infant mortality rate of 6.1 percent, a figure higher than the state and national average.

The United Nations says access to safe abortion is an important predictor of population health, and infant mortality specifically.

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