As questions abound on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions to overturn Roe v. Wade might affect women in Texas, District Attorney Brian Middleton last week predicted he didn’t think anyone in Fort Bend County would ever be criminally charged for getting an abortion.
Rather, the state’s laws and the court’s decisions have instead virtually ended abortion in Texas, he said.
“I think it’s hugely unlikely that you’re going to have a physician take that risk of jail and a $100,000 fine,” he said. “I think abortion is effectively ended in Texas.”
Middleton was one of several Fort Bend County area elected leaders to speak out after the U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that there was no longer a constitutional right to have an abortion.
Because of that ruling, Texas law will outlaw abortion and enforce criminal penalties on providers as well as those seeking them.
In his initial comments, Middleton promised to uphold the constitution, while also considering each case on an individual basis.
“As the elected district attorney of Fort Bend County, I serve the people of Fort Bend County and I am sworn to uphold the constitution, to seek justice and to ensure equal justice under the law,” he wrote.
The district attorney’s office won’t grant blanket immunity to anyone, but prosecutors will review and measure all criminal complaints in light of their circumstances, Middleton wrote.
But in a follow-up conversation with the Fort Bend Star, Middleton said he didn’t think his office would have to weigh in on many cases at all.
Essentially, because people still have the option to seek abortions outside of the state, physicians in Texas will likely stop offering that service and organizations will simply use other states, Middleton said.
Furthermore, Middleton wasn’t sure there were any abortion providers operating in Fort Bend County even before the recent ruling, he said.
“I’m not sure there’s an abortion-provider in the county,” he said.