Texas Supreme Court Blocks Order Allowing Abortions To Resume


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The legal dispute over abortions in Texas took a further turn late Friday after the state Supreme Court blocked a lower court order allowing proceedings to temporarily resume.

The Texas Supreme Court in Austin granted an “emergency request for temporary relief” at the request of: the state’s attorney general, Republican Ken Paxton, on Wednesday preventing a lower court order from taking effect.

Texas had a nearly 100-year-old ban on abortion in the books for the past 50 years, while Roe v. Wade was in place. After the Supreme Court was overturned roe on June 24, Paxton advised prosecutors could now enforce the 1925 Act, which he called a “100% good law” on Twitter. However, abortion rights groups and clinics filed a lawsuit, arguing that it should be interpreted as revoked and unenforceable.

On Tuesday, a judge in Harris County, Tex., issued a temporary injunction until at least July 12 when arguments are planned – to allow clinics to offer abortions for at least two weeks without criminal charges. Judge Christine Weems (D), who holds an elected position, ruled that a pre-roe The ban, enforced by Paxton and the prosecutors, would “inevitably and irreparably curb the provision of abortions in the crucial final weeks when safer abortion care remains available and legal in Texas.”

Clinics race to take advantage of that fleeting delay.

Paxton then asked the state’s highest court, which is filled with nine Republican judges, to temporarily put the lower court order on hold. State Supreme Court Order from the end of Friday ensures civil, but not criminal, enforcement of the ban, according to plaintiffs, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Texas abortions may be temporarily resumed, judge rules

The flurry of lawsuits has left abortion clinics and patients in disarray in Texas, with many people rebooking and canceling appointments and travel plans as they struggle through the new legal landscape.

“These laws are confusing, unnecessary and cruel,” Marc Hearron, senior adviser to the Center for Reproductive Rights advocacy group, said in a statement following Friday’s ruling.

The American Civil Liberties Union, also a party to the lawsuit, said it “will not stop fighting to ensure that as many people as possible have access, for as long as possible, to the essential reproductive health care they need.”

Texas had strict abortion laws before Roe v. Wade was overthrown. Last year, Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed Texas Senate Bill 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, which bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy — before many people even know they are pregnant — with no exceptions for victims of rape, sexual abuse or incest. It also used a new legal strategy that allowed ordinary people to enforce the law by suing anyone who made the abortion possible.

This Texas teen wanted an abortion. She now has twins.

Tuesday’s temporary restraining order was seen by many reproductive rights advocates as a last chance for clinics to offer abortions, as Texas is one of 13 states in the country with a “trigger ban” in effect. The trigger ban, which was preemptively designed to be enforced in the event roe was brought down is expected to come into effect in the coming weeks.

Shayna Jacobs, Caroline Kitchener and Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.