Judge Declares Texas Abortion Law Unconstitutional

The federal judge overturned ban on common second-trimester procedure
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2017 4:30 PM CST
Judge Overturns Texas Abortion-Procedure Ban
Activists dressed as characters from "The Handmaid's Tale" chant in the Texas Capitol Rotunda as they protest SB8.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A lawyer for abortion providers in Texas is hailing a "complete victory" after a federal judge in Austin struck down a law restricting the most common form of second-trimester abortion yesterday. The ban on so-called "dilation and evacuation" abortions was approved by the Texas Legislature in May as part of a bigger bill known as Senate Bill 8, and it would require doctors to find an alternate method of terminating a fetus before extracting it from the womb. The D&E procedure requires dismemberment of the fetus, and anti-abortion activists and lawmakers have claimed it causes pain, Politico reports. However, D&E is considered the safest method for terminating the fetus in the second trimester.

In his judgment, Judge Lee Yeakel said the law is "facially unconstitutional" and would force doctors to act against their best medical judgment, the New York Times reports. Yeakel wrote: "The court is unaware of any other medical context that requires a doctor—in contravention of the doctor's medical judgment and the best interest of the patient—to conduct a medical procedure that delivers no benefit to the woman." An hour after Yeakel's decision came down, the Texas attorney general's office announced that it would be filing an appeal. (Read more abortion stories.)

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