Texas Court Blocks Order Resuming Abortions

Houston judge had allowed procedures 3 days earlier
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2022 4:30 PM CDT
Texas Court Blocks Order Resuming Abortions
Abortion-rights advocates gather outside the Tarrant County Courthouse in Fort Worth, Texas, last Saturday. The crowd chanted "My body, my choice!" and "Reproductive rights are human rights!"   (Madeleine Cook/Star-Telegram via AP)

The Texas Supreme Court has blocked an order that had briefly allowed some clinics to resume abortions in the state, the latest development in legal scrambles across the US since Roe v. Wade was overturned. The court on Friday night stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The practical impact of the decision was difficult to measure at the start of the holiday weekend, the AP reports. Planned Parenthood's affiliates in Texas had not resumed abortion services even after the restraining order was put in place Tuesday.

Whole Woman’s Health, which has four Texas clinics, had said it would start working through a waiting list and resume abortion services, but that was before the Supreme Court intervened at the request of Attorney General Ken Paxton. No one at Whole Woman's Health could immediately be reached for comment Saturday. At issue is a long-dormant 1925 criminal law that targets individuals who perform abortions. Clinics had argued that it was invalid after abortion became a constitutional right across the US in 1973. The US Supreme Court, however, struck down the landmark Roe decision June 24, leaving abortion policy to states.

"Pro-life victory! ... Litigation continues, but I'll keep winning for Texas's unborn babies," Paxton, a Republican, said on Twitter. Separately, Texas has a 2021 law that was designed to ban abortion in the event that Roe were overturned. It takes effect in the weeks ahead. The ruling Friday does not allow prosecutors to bring criminal cases against abortion providers, per the Texas Tribune, but it does mean anyone who helps another obtain an abortion could face fines and lawsuits.

(More anti-abortion laws stories.)

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