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Reproductive rights groups on Tuesday filed a federal class-action lawsuit to head off possible prosecution from Texas officials for helping Texans gain access to legal abortions in other states.
The suit filed in Austin names Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as well as a class composed of the county and district attorneys who could enforce the state’s near-total abortion ban, which goes into effect on Thursday.
The law, known as House Bills 1280, was passed last year. It is “triggered” into taking effect on Thursday by the US Supreme Court’s ruling in June on Dobbs v. Jackson, which overturned Roe v. Wade’s constitutional protection for abortion access.
The plaintiffs want a federal judge to issue an injunction barring Paxton and prosecutors from using that law and other statutes to target those reproductive rights groups for activities the groups say conservative state leaders may politically oppose but are still legal.
The groups want the court to confirm that “the Trigger Ban cannot be enforced by any Defendant … in a manner that violates Plaintiffs’ rights to freely travel, freely associate, freely speak, and freely support members of their communities through financial assistance, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and federal law,” according to the suit.
The named plaintiffs are Fund Texas Choice, the North Texas Equal Access Fund, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Frontera Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network and Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, an outspoken Texas providers.
They’re asking for legal protection to continue fundraising and paying for out-of-state abortion expenses, including raising funds for travel or other costs or for the procedure itself, as well as helping pregnant Texans with