July 15, 2024


The Legal System

Texas Supreme Court lifts stay on anti-abortion law


On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court order allowing clinics to continue performing abortions. The high court ruling came just days after some doctors resumed seeing patients, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Demonstrators gather at the federal courthouse following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Clinics in Texas, the second biggest state in the country, with a population of nearly 30 million people, had stopped performing abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the constitutional right to the procedure. But a Harris County judge last week ruled that clinics could temporarily resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly appealed to the state’s highest court, controlled by nine Republican justices, to reverse the lower court order and allow prosecutors to enforce a 1925 state law criminalizing abortion at any stage of pregnancy.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, Paxton claimed prosecutors in Texas could enforce the 1925 law, but abortion providers sued, arguing that the law had automatically been repealed in 1973 when the Supreme Court first decided Roe v. Wade.

The state high court justices issued a partial grant of Paxton’s emergency motion, saying Texas’ nearly century-old abortion ban could be enforced in civil courts, making it illegal to perform abortions in the state even before anti-abortion “trigger laws” come into effect.

“These laws are confusing, unnecessary, and cruel,” Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “Texas’s trigger ban is not scheduled to take effect for another two months, if not longer. This law from nearly one hundred years ago is banning essential health care prematurely, despite clearly being long repealed.”


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