Texas’ restrictive abortion law is in effect again – for now Friday after order. It is the latest twist in a shocking legal saga that advocates say is having a “disastrous effect” on providers and patients in the state.
Nearly all abortions were banned in Texas for a month when the state’s abortion law went into effect in early September. Then in early October, a judge temporarily halted the ban, which prompted some abortion clinics to reopen.
which lasted for two days.
A temporary order issued Friday by a federal appeals court can be reversed any time the court makes a more permanent decision. But for now, it allows Texas to temporarily resume restrictions on most abortions.
So once again, appointments have been rescheduled, patients turned away in waiting rooms, and many forced to travel to neighboring states at the last minute to get services.
And experts say the back-and-forth may continue.
“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Molly Duane, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told USA Today. “The pattern we saw last night is something we are familiar with, and although it wasn’t unexpected, it was still extremely disappointing. The loss that patients have suffered is irreparable.”
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As the case progresses through the appeals process, Duane said he hopes it will quickly return to the US Supreme Court.
But Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, told Granthshala that depending on what the 5th US Court of Appeals ultimately decides, there could be more legal back and forth along the way.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to predict its timing and what kind of back-and-forth we’re going to see, but of course I think we’ll see more of it in the coming weeks as the case builds up.” It’s way to the courts quickly,” she said.
Last month, the Supreme Court refused to rule on the constitutionality of the Texas law, allowing it to remain in place. For many abortion advocates, that 5-4 vote, backed by the court’s conservative majority, was a foreboding sign of what was to come.
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Legal back-and-forth becomes ‘whiplash’ for patients and providers
As Texas abortion law pinballs through the court system, it has brought devastation to providers and people seeking abortion services, advocates say.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, called on the Supreme Court to “stop and stop this madness.”
“Patients are being thrown back into a state of chaos and fear, and this brutal law is hitting hardest on those who already face discriminatory barriers to health care, particularly black, indigenous, and other people of color, undocumented immigrants, young people who are struggling to make a living, and are in rural areas,” he added. In Friday’s statement.
Amiri told USA Today that the legal battle has caused “catastrophe and chaos” in Texas, where patients were given a glimmer of hope before their appointments were cancelled.
“It’s really hard to have this whiplash for the staff and the providers and the patients,” she said. “It’s destabilizing. It’s inhumane, and it really shouldn’t be.”
Proponents of the Texas law have also expressed frustration with the courts receiving an unfavorable ruling on the ban.
Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, accused “activist judges” of “bending backwards … to cater to the abortion industry” after a district judge temporarily halted the law.
The group’s latest legal twist allowed the law to give effect to a “prayer answered.”
Meanwhile, Texas Choice Fund, a nonprofit that helps Texans travel for abortion services, said Friday that patients “deserve better.”
“We knew it was likely to come, but we shouldn’t feel this level of back and forth where people’s lives and healthcare are at stake,” The organization said on Twitter. “Everyone should know that they can have an abortion at all times, always close to their homes.”
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Abortion halted in Texas, again
While not all Texas abortion providers resumed services at the time the law was retroactively blocked for fear of being prosecuted, many scrambled to book new appointments. But now there is a danger of stopping the services once again. Neighboring states are racing to keep up with the growth of patients traveling from Texas. And still other pregnant people may be forced to conceive.
Whole Woman Health, which operates four clinics in Texas, was one of the first providers to resume abortion services during the two-day respite.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Women’s Health, said there was hope but also disappointment because people knew “this opportunity could be short-lived.”
On Friday, Whole Women’s Health said on twitter “We knew this would happen and that is why we provided abortions longer than six weeks,” adding that “our patients are doing better.”
“Health care cannot be turned on and off like this, and the experience of providers and patients having to cancel appointments just one day is extremely emotionally damaging,” Duane said.
Contribution: Associated Press