Texas Judge Blocks Law Banning One of the Most Common Abortion Procedures

02 September, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Warren Cooper
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But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a 14-day injunction to stop the bill from going into effect ― particularly because of the bill's ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions. The law, passed by Texas' Republican-controlled state Legislature, was set to go into effect Friday.

Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas granted a temporary restraining order Thursday, delaying enforcement of the ban until September 14.

Whole Woman's Health - which won a landmark case in the U.S. Supreme Court previous year striking down parts of another Texas anti-abortion law - claims that the ban on D&E threatens the health of their patients, impedes patients' access to abortion care, and violates their constitutional rights.

In addition to banning dilation and evacuation procedures, commonly referred to as D&E procedures, Senate Bill 8 prohibits the donation of fetal tissue from abortions for medical research and requires abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal tissue.

Under the law, physicians would have to initiate fetal demise before beginning the procedure.

In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on legal abortion can not unduly burden a woman without providing a legitimate medical benefit.

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Kayleigh Lovvorn, a spokeswoman for Texas attorney general, on Thursday said her office has no plans to push back the September 5 date.

It's a fast, outpatient procedure.

Attorney General Ken Paxton said SB 8 doesn't ban all second-trimester abortions, just D&E while the fetus is still alive. Multiple medical organizations have come out against SB 8, since it encourages women to undergo risky procedures, ones that go against a doctor's best medical judgement.

But a lawyer representing abortion clinics and doctors argued that the state identified three methods of causing fetal demise that carry increased health risks for women, aren't fully effective and are untested in pregnancies of less than 18 weeks, requiring doctors to essentially "experiment" on patients. In 2013, WWH sued the state over House Bill 2, a sweeping anti-abortion legislation that used onerous building regulations and other unnecessary legal hurdles to shut down more than half of the abortion clinics in Texas.

The judge wrote that Planned Parenthood and the other plaintiffs satisfied a requirement for the temporary injunction showing that "threatened injury to the Plaintiffs outweighs any damage that the temporary restraining order might cause the State".

"We're grateful that today's decision will protect women's access to one of the safest and most common methods of abortion in the second trimester", Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, according to Reuters. It serves the public interest to preserve the status quo to prevent harm to women and abortion providers, concluded Yeakel.

"The Texas Attorney General will continue to defend our state's legal right to protect the basic human rights and dignity of the unborn", he added, indicating that Texas will appeal the ruling.

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