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Tipsheet

Abortions Resume in Some Texas Clinics After Judge Blocks Abortion Ban

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

Abortions can resume at some Texas clinics after a law banning abortion in the state was temporarily blocked on Tuesday.

NBC News noted that the Harris County judge’s temporary restraining order was filed following a lawsuit filed this week by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU and two Texas-based law firms. 

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Abortions up to six weeks can now resume in some of the clinics. The ACLU praised the judge’s order.

“Every day that clinics can remain open will save countless people from the life-altering risks and consequences of forced pregnancy,” the ACLU said in a published statement following the order.

The lawsuit came after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, ending a 50-year precedent that created a federal “constitutional” right to abortion. 

Several states, including Texas set trigger laws to ban or restrict abortion. Texas’ trigger law reportedly does not go into effect until 30 days after the Court’s decision.

According to pro-abortion organization Fund Texas Choice, there are over 20 operating abortions clinics in the Lone Star State. They are mostly concentrated in Houston, Austin and the greater Dallas and Fort Worth area.

In a joint statement, Planned Parenthoods from across the state said they are not a plaintiff in the lawsuit and have not resumed abortions in the state.

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“This is a rapidly evolving situation and legal teams are still reviewing this order and its potential implications for Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas,” the statement said.

“Just like other abortion providers, Planned Parenthood affiliates in states that are extremely hostile to abortion access are being forced to make difficult operational decisions based on their own unique considerations due to their state’s legal landscape."

Laws surrounding abortion have been on ongoing battle in Texas since last year. On Sept. 1, 2021, a law took effect in the state prohibiting abortion after fetal heartbeat detection, which occurs around six weeks gestation. 

The “heartbeat” law, S.B. 8, was blocked by an Obama-appointed district judge about a month after it took effect. Texas-based abortion clinic Whole Woman’s Health, who challenged the law, quickly resumed abortions before the law was put back into effect later that same week.

The United States Supreme Court fast-tracked two hearings for the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas, which challenged the six-week ban. Both cases were heard on Nov. 1. 

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In the Supreme Court’s ruling a month later, the justices allowed the law to stand. A separate case brought forth by the Department of Justice over the Texas law was shot down by the Court. 

Days later, SCOTUS officially returned the abortion clinics’ case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana. The case was heard by the Fifth Circuit in January. It then made its way to the Texas Supreme Court.

A separate Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, is what triggered the Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey overturn. Now, each state can create their own laws on the issue.

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