Abortions can Resume in Texas After Court Blocks Ban

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Image Source: RNZ

Abortion as a constitutional right was reversed by the US Supreme Court last week, but a court on Tuesday prevented authorities from enforcing a nearly century-old restriction that the state’s Republican attorney general claimed was back in place.

Judge Christine Weems in Harris County issued the temporary restraining order in a last-ditch effort by abortion providers to restart services after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday invalidated the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that secured women’s right to have abortions.

On Monday, a group of abortion providers filed a lawsuit to stop the enforcement of an antiquated abortion prohibition that predates Roe v. Wade before a trigger law forbids the majority of abortions in the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to strike down the constitutional guarantee of abortion rights on Friday, but the decision won’t become final until the court publishes a written verdict. After publishing an opinion, the court typically takes roughly 25 days to decide. After that ruling, Texas’ trigger law, which was passed last year, would come into force.

The judgment permits clinics to temporarily restart operations in a state where, as a result of a Texas legislation that went into effect in September and was not blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion was already tightly constrained to only the first six weeks of pregnancy.

The next hearing is set for July 12. Requests for a response from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were not entertained.

The judgment was made amid a rush of lawsuits filed in state courts by abortion-rights organizations to slow down or stop Republican-backed limits on women’s ability to end pregnancies that are now in force or about to do so in 22 states.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, for abortion rights, among those states are 13 that, like Texas, have passed “trigger” laws that would go into force if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Federal courts have begun withdrawing rulings preventing Republican-backed abortion restrictions after the Supreme Court’s ruling. However, a federal appeals court on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for a six-week ban in Tennessee.