A group of Texas state House lawmakers called the Texas Freedom Caucus sent a letter to a law firm in Dallas last week threatening “consequences” over the firm’s decision to reimburse employees for the costs of out-of-state travel to obtain an abortion.
The lawmakers’ missive, sent and posted on its website on July 7, accused the firm, Sidley Austin LLP, of being “complicit in illegal abortions” in Texas that were allegedly performed before and after the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade.
“It has come to our attention that Sidley Austin has decided to reimburse the travel costs of employees who leave Texas to murder their unborn children,” state Rep. Mayes Middleton (R), the chair of the Texas Freedom Caucus, wrote in the email to Sidley Austin, which is based in Chicago but has an office in Dallas. “We are writing to inform you of the consequences that you and your colleagues will face for these actions.”
Middleton claimed that the law firm was “exposing itself and each of its partners to felony criminal prosecution and disbarment,” citing Texas’ anti-abortion law from 1925 that the state can now enforce after the Supreme Court struck down Roe last month.
“We will also be introducing legislation next session that will impose additional civil and criminal sanctions on law firms that pay for abortions or abortion travel,” Middleton warned.
The new legislation, according to the letter, will criminalize any Texas company’s reimbursement of “elective abortions” or “abortion-related expenses — regardless of where the abortion occurs, and regardless of the law in the jurisdiction where the abortion occurs.”
It will also require the State Bar of Texas to disbar any lawyer who violates the states’ ban on abortion, Middleton warned.
The email included a CC to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who has sworn to enforce the state’s abortion restrictions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s strikedown of Roe.
The Texas Freedom Caucus’ threat marks the next frontier in the GOP’s war on reproductive rights: Policing across state lines and barring people from accessing abortions in other states, especially as companies like Sidley Austin and others establish reimbursement policies for out-of-state abortion access.
Read the letter below: