A federal appeals court has allowed Texas to ban most abortions, just a day after clinics race to serve patients again for the first time since early September.
a one page order The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the nation’s strictest abortion law, which bans abortion, issued late Friday. Once cardiac activity is detected, usually about six weeks. it makes No exception in cases of rape or incest.
“Patients are being thrown back into a state of chaos and fear,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents many of the Texas clinics that have resumed normal abortion services.
She called on the US Supreme Court to “stop this madness and take action.”
A New Orleans-based appeals court on Wednesday hung clinics to act swiftly after US District Judge Robert Pittman was appointed by President Barack Obama. Texas law suspended that he called an “aggressive deprivation” of the constitutional right to abortion. Knowing the order might not stand for long, on Thursday some clinics in Texas began performing abortions beyond six weeks, and booked new appointments for this weekend.
But barely 48 hours passed before the appeals court accepted Texas’ request to set Pitman’s decision aside — at least for now — pending further arguments. It gave the Biden administration, who brought the case, until Tuesday to answer.
“Good news tonight,” tweeted Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “I will fight federal encroachment at every turn.”
There were about two dozen abortion clinics in Texas before the law went into effect on September 1. During the brief period the law was withheld, many Texas physicians were unwilling to perform abortions, fearing that doing so could still put them in legal jeopardy.
The new law threatens Texas abortion providers with lawsuits from private citizens who, if successful, are entitled to collect at least $10,000 in damages. That novel approach to enforcement is the reason Texas was able to avoid an earlier wave of legal challenges earlier this week.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had already allowed the law to take effect in September, and it stepped in just hours after Paxton’s office urged action to be taken.
his office told the court That since the state does not enforce the law, it “cannot be held responsible for the filing of private citizens that Texas is powerless to prevent.”
It is not clear how many abortions Texas clinics performed while the law was in force. As of Thursday, at least six abortion providers had resumed normal services or were gearing up to do so, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
before pitman 113 page blistering order, other courts had refused to stop a law banning abortion Before some women know they are pregnant. This includes the Supreme Court, which in September allowed it to proceed without deciding on its constitutionality.
One of the first providers to resume normal services this week was Whole Women’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Women’s Health, said her clinic called early Thursday some patients who were on the list in case the law was blocked. Other appointments were being scheduled for days to come, and phone lines were busy again. But 17 physicians from some clinics were still refusing to perform abortions because of the legal risk.
Pittman’s order was the first legal blow to the law, known as Senate Bill 8. In the weeks after the restrictions went into effect, Texas abortion providers said the effect was “Exactly what we feared.”
Planned Parenthood says number of patients Its clinics in the state have decreased by about 80% from Texas. Some providers have said clinics in Texas are in danger of closing, while neighboring states are struggling to keep up. crowd of patients Those who have to travel hundreds of miles to have an abortion.
He says other women are being forced to conceive.
It is unknown how many abortions have occurred in Texas since the law took effect. State health officials say September data will not be available on its website until early next year.
A 1992 decision of the US Supreme Court prohibited states from banning abortions before viability, at which point the fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy. But the Texas version has so far overtaken the courts because it leaves private citizens to file a lawsuit, not prosecutors, which critics say equates to a bounty.
“It’s an answered prayer,” said Kimberlynn Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group.