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This guide provides an overview of abortion laws in Texas. It also discusses recent developments due to the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This is a rapidly developing topic and the information here may be subject to change.
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Texas Law | Pending Texas Legislation | U.S. Supreme Court Decisions and Constitutional Law | Federal "Supremacy Clause" and Federal Actions
Texas's laws related to abortion are mostly found in the Texas Health and Safety Code. For an overview of how Texas's abortion laws developed over time, please see our FAQ on the topic or the "History of Abortion Laws" page of this guide.
Note The 88th Regular Legislative Session begins on January 10th, 2023. This means new laws may be passed in early 2023 that may affect this subject. To research pending legislation on this topic, please see the resources below.
The right to an abortion is not specifically listed in the United States Constitution. Because of this, the courts must determine whether it is an "unenumerated," or implied right. As the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States, they are the final authority on questions about unenumerated rights.
Courts also have the ability to determine whether a law violates a Constitutional right. This is known as "judicial review."
Article VI of the United States Constitution contains a section referred to as the "Supremacy Clause." It reads as follows:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
This is commonly understood to mean that the United States Constitution and federal laws overrule state laws. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the United States government may take steps to protect reproductive care on the federal level. Ultimately, a court will need to decide how these federal protections affect state laws.