Texas Supreme Court rejects lower court abortion order

Jenny Bowtie
Texas Supreme Court

After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed its landmark 1973 opinion that established a constitutional right to abortion, the Texas Supreme Court rejected a lower court order that had enabled facilities in the state to continue providing abortions.

It was not immediately obvious if the facilities in Texas that started conducting abortions just days ago will suspend services again following the verdict late Friday night. A  Texas Supreme Court hearing is slated for later this month.

The chaos and scrambling that has occurred around the country since Roe v. Wade was reversed are illustrated by the rapid turnaround of Texas clinics, which have turned away people, rescheduled them, and now may cancel appointments again.

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On Tuesday, a court in Houston issued an injunction saying that temporarily at least, clinics could begin performing abortions up to six weeks into pregnancies. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton moved fast to get the ruling stayed by the state’s highest court, which is composed of nine Republican judges.

“These laws are unclear, needless, and cruel,” said Marc Hearron, counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, after the order was issued Friday night.

Clinics in Texas – a state of roughly 30 million people — halted conducting abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court last week reversed Roe v. Wade. Texas has left an abortion prohibition on the books for the last 50 years while Roe was in effect.

The order from Friday was not immediately available on the court’s website, so lawyers representing Texas clinics provided a copy.

Abortion doctors and patients around the country have been battling to understand the shifting legal environment around abortion regulations and access.

In Florida, legislation barring abortions after 15 weeks went into effect Friday, the day after a judge labeled it a violation of the state constitution and said he would issue an order temporarily halting the measure next week. Due to Florida’s greater access to the treatment than its neighbors, the restriction may have regional repercussions.

In the space of a few days, Kentucky saw its abortion rights both erode and recover. So-called trigger legislation placing a near-total ban on the operation took effect last Friday, but a court suspended the measure Thursday, ensuring the state’s only two abortion doctors may resume treating patients ― for now.

The legal fighting is probably guaranteed to continue to generate upheaval for Americans seeking abortions in the foreseeable future, with court judgments upending access at a moment’s notice and an inflow of new patients from out-of-state overwhelming doctors.

Women may have fewer alternatives to terminate pregnancies even when they travel outside of states with abortion prohibitions since the threat of punishment accompanies them.

This week, Planned Parenthood of Montana decided to discontinue offering medication abortions to patients who reside in states with prohibitions “to reduce the possible risk for clinicians, health center employees, and patients in the face of a quickly shifting environment.”
If you live in a state that legally permits abortions, Planned Parenthood in the North Central States, which provides the service in Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska, advises you to take both tablets in the regimen.

Since the year 2000, when mifepristone, the main medicine used in medication abortions, was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it has been the most popular means of terminating a pregnancy. The abortion pill consists of mifepristone and misoprostol, a medication that induces cramping to expel the fetus from the uterus.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding and anxiety that the providers may be in danger,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, who runs the study group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

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