By ACACIA CORONADO and ED WHITE, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court has blocked an order that briefly allowed some clinics to resume abortions in the state, the latest development in legal scrambling across the United States since the cancellation of Roe v. Wade.
On Friday night, the court stopped a three-day-old order from a Houston judge that said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks pregnant. The practical impact of the decision was difficult to gauge at the start of the bank holiday weekend.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas had not resumed abortion services even after the restraining order was put in place on Tuesday.
“Nothing has changed operationally with the state Supreme Court decision,” spokeswoman Ianthe Metzger said.
Whole Woman’s Health, which has four clinics in Texas, had announced it would begin operating on a waiting list and resume services, but that was before the Supreme Court intervened at the request of Attorney General Ken Paxton. . No one at Whole Woman’s Health could be immediately reached for comment on Saturday.
At issue is a long-dormant 1925 criminal law that targets people who perform abortions. Clinics had argued he was disabled after abortion became a constitutional right in the United States in 1973. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, overturned Roe’s landmark ruling on June 24, leaving the policy of abortion in the States.
Texas pre-Roe law protects “unborn children from the moment of conception,” the attorney general’s office said in a court filing. “The District Court’s temporary restraining order prohibits Texas from acting to protect this life – the damage suffered will be immeasurable and irreversible.”
Separately, Texas has a 2021 law designed to ban abortion if Roe is overturned. It takes effect in the coming weeks.
“Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans to become pregnant and give birth against their will, however devastating the consequences,” said Julia Kaye of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Providers and patients across the country are struggling to navigate the evolving legal landscape around abortion laws and access.
In Florida, a law banning abortions after 15 weeks went into effect Friday, the day after a judge called it a violation of the state constitution and said he would sign an order temporarily blocking the next week. The ban could have broader implications in the South, as Florida currently allows greater access to the procedure than neighboring states.
Even when women travel outside states where abortion is banned, they may have fewer options for terminating their pregnancies as the prospect of prosecution follows them.
Planned Parenthood of Montana this week stopped offering medical abortions to patients living in banned states.
Planned Parenthood North Central States, which offers the procedure in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, tells patients they must take both diet pills while in a state that allows abortion.
The use of pills has been the most common method of terminating a pregnancy since 2000, when the United States Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, the main drug used in medical abortions. Taken with misoprostol, a drug that causes cramps that empty the uterus, it is called the abortion pill.
White reported from Detroit.
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