The Texas Freedom Caucus, the legislative caucus of the Texas House of Representatives, sent a threatening letter to a Dallas and Houston law firm that planned to reimburse travel expenses for employees seeking abortions.
In the letter, which was addressed to Sidley Austin LLP, the 11 caucus representatives wrote that legislation will be introduced to impose civil and criminal penalties on law firms that pay for abortion or abortion travel. .
“We are writing to inform you of the consequences you and your colleagues will face for these actions,” he said.
The proposed legislation will prohibit any employer in the state from paying for elective abortions or reimbursing abortion-related expenses, regardless of the location of the abortion. According to these lawmakers, private citizens will be allowed to sue anyone who pays for an elective abortion performed on a Texas resident.
If passed, the law will authorize the Texas State Bar to disbar any attorney who has violated abortion laws.
The Texas Freedom Caucus said Sidley aided or abetted medical abortions that violate the Texas Heartbeat Act, a law that prohibits abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy. According to the letter, litigation is already underway to identify employees who may have been involved.
“To the extent that Sidley facilitates abortions performed in violation of Section 4512.1, she and each of her partners may be subject to criminal prosecution and disbarment.”
According to an email seen by Bloomberg Law, Sidley said he would cover abortions and related travel costs for employees in states where the restrictions take effect.
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 legal precedent that legalized abortion in the United States.
Last year, State Senate Bill 8 went into effect in Texas, banning abortion around six weeks gestation, even in cases of rape and incest. The latest ruling will create criminal penalties for those who perform or facilitate abortions at all stages of pregnancy.
The letter was backed by all 11 conservative Texas lawmakers and concluded, “Conduct yourself accordingly.”
Sidley Austin LLP and The Texas Freedom Caucus did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.