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Special session to Supreme Court: How a Texas abortion law made it to the highest U.S. court

<p>Texas took center stage in the national discussion about women’s reproductive rights in June 2013, sparking support from some and outrage from others.</p>

Brittany Shulman

Texas has been legislating abortion since 1854.

The first Texas abortion law stated that the person providing the abortion would receive up 10 years in prison. Two years later, Texas relaxed the law. If the woman consented to the abortion, prison time would only be between two and five years. Punishment was given to the person administering the procedure, not the pregnant woman.

This is one of the only times, if not the only, in Texas history that an abortion law was made less strict instead of more restrictive.

June 2013 was when Texas took center stage in the national discussion about women’s reproductive rights, sparking support from some and outrage from others.

As U.S. Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, “Today there is no issue that divides the people of this country more than abortion.”

The United States Supreme Court is set to hear Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt this year, a case originating in the Lone Star state over abortion restrictions set forth in 2013.

This will be the first abortion case the Supreme Court will have heard since 2007.

Here’s an in-depth look at how a piece of Texas legislation, House Bill 2, made it to the Supreme Court.