The law firm Sidley Austin LLP received a letter from the Texas Freedom Caucus.
According to the letter, legislation banning law firms from covering abortion-related travel expenses will be introduced.
The letter advised, “Conduct yourselves accordingly.”
A law firm with offices in Dallas and Houston that intended to cover travel expenses for staff members seeking abortions received a threatening letter from the Texas Freedom Caucus, a legislative caucus in the Texas House of Representatives.
The 11 members of the caucus stated in a letter addressed to Sidley Austin LLP that legislation will be introduced to impose civil and criminal penalties on law firms that fund abortion or abortion-related travel.
We are writing to let you know the repercussions your actions, as well as those of your coworkers, will have.
No matter where the abortion takes place, the proposed legislation will make it illegal for any employer in the state to pay for elective abortions or reimburse abortion-related expenses. These legislators claim that anyone who pays to have an elective abortion carried out on a Texas resident can be sued by private individuals.
If it becomes law, The State Bar of Texas will have the authority to bar any attorney who has broken any abortion laws.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, was broken, according to the Texas Freedom Caucus, which claimed Sidley had assisted or encouraged drug-induced abortions. The letter claims that legal action is already being taken to find any potential guilty employees.
“Sidley is exposing itself and each of its partners to felony criminal prosecution and disbarment to the extent that it is facilitating abortions performed in violation of article 4512.1.”
In an email obtained by Bloomberg Law, Sidley reportedly stated that it would pay for employees’ abortions and related travel expenses in states where restrictions are taking effect.
The 1973 legal precedent known as Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal throughout the US, was overturned by the Supreme Court on June 24.
In Texas, State Senate Bill 8 went into effect last year and made abortions after six weeks of pregnancy illegal in all circumstances, including rape and incest. The most recent decision will make it illegal to perform or assist in abortions at any stage of pregnancy.
The 11 conservative Texas lawmakers who signed the letter advised readers to “conduct yourselves accordingly.”