Texas reinstates abortion law

Texas reinstates abortion law

(Austin) On Friday night, just a day after clinics across the state began to throng to serve patients again for the first time since early September, the Federal Court of Appeals ordered Texas to resume restrictions on most abortions. allowed.


Paul J. weber
The Associated Press

Texas on Friday called for an early reinstatement of America’s most restrictive abortion law, which, until this week, had banned most voluntary terminations of pregnancies.

This request sends Texas law, known as SB8, to the Fifth Federal Court of Appeals, which previously authorized the application of these sanctions.

Even after Judge Robert Pittman suspended the law on Wednesday, many Texas doctors still refuse to perform abortions, fearing they could face legal action. The result is that abortion services in Texas – which had about two dozen clinics before the law went into effectIs September – Even with the suspension of the law, are far from returning to their regular practice.

The law prohibits abortion in Texas as soon as heart activity is detected, usually around six weeks pregnant. The law is enforced only through lawsuits brought by individuals against abortion providers—an innovative approach that helped Texas avoid its first wave of legal challenges.

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office told the court that since the state does not enforce the law, it “cannot be held responsible for complaints filed by private citizens that Texas cannot.” in order to stop “.

His office has asked the court to take action by Tuesday, if not sooner.

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Mr Pittman called the law an “aggressive deprivation” of the constitutional right to abortion. The lawsuit was brought by the Biden administration, which warned that other states could adopt similar measures if the Texas law was not reversed.

Before Judge Robert Pittman’s 113-page order, other courts refused to stop the law, which bans abortions before some women become pregnant. These include 5I US The Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, which authorized the law’s application in September, without ruling on its constitutionality.

Texas law leaves law enforcement only to citizens, who are entitled to collect $10,000 in damages if they sue not only those abortion providers who violate the restrictions, but also against anyone who violates a ban. Helps the woman to have an abortion. Republicans drafted legislation to allow retrospective prosecution if sanctions are lifted by one court and then reinstated by another.

Judge Robert Pittman’s order is the first setback for bill SB8, which has faced earlier challenges. In the weeks after the restrictions went into effect, Texas abortion service providers said the impact was “exactly what we feared.”

“Upon enactment of Law SB8, women were illegally prevented from exercising control over their lives in a constitutionally protected manner,” wrote Pittman, who was appointed to the court by former President Barack Obama.

Abortion service providers say their fears have come true since the law came into force. Planned Parenthood says the number of Texas patients at its clinics dropped by about 80% in the two weeks since the law went into effect.

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Some providers have said Texas clinics are now in danger of closure, as neighboring states scramble to cope with the influx of patients who have to travel hundreds of miles to get abortions. He says other women are forced to terminate their pregnancies.

It is not known how many abortions have occurred in Texas since the law came into force. State health officials say the additional reporting requirements under the law will not allow the September data to be posted on their website until early next year.

A 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision barred states from banning abortions before viability, which is when a fetus can survive outside the womb to about 24 weeks of age. But the Texas version has so far defied the courts because it leaves it to individuals, not prosecutors, to file complaints, which critics say equates to a reward.

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