Abortions before 6 weeks allowed to resume in Texas after court order

Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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A judge granted a temporary restraining order, meaning abortions before six weeks can still occur in Texas, at least for the next two weeks.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- At least two Houston clinics are offering abortions after a judge granted a temporary restraining order.

This comes days after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

After the decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took to Twitter and called the judge's decision wrong.

"(Tuesday) a Harris County judge froze pre-Roe laws criminalizing abortion in TX. But w/ SCOTUSs Dobbs decision, these laws are 100% in effect & constitutional. The judge's decision is wrong. I'm immediately appealing. I'll ensure we have all the legal tools to keep TX pro-life!" he wrote.

He has already vowed to appeal Tuesday's ruling, which allows clinics to provide abortions under the previous state law, called the heartbeat law, until July 12, which is when the next hearing is scheduled in the case.

In Houston, The Houston Women's Clinic and Houston Women's Reproductive have both resumed early-term abortions. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast, which was not a plaintiff in the case, has not resumed abortion services.

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The whole argument in the case was over whether or not abortions are illegal and punishable right now. It focuses on a statute from 1925 that criminalized abortion in Texas before Roe v. Wade.

Lawyers on behalf of the abortion providers pointed to a tweet from Paxton on Friday, which said abortions are "now unlawful in the Lone Star State," suggesting abortions cannot happen right now.

They argued certain abortions can still happen because the 1925 statute had been repealed and made unconstitutional after Roe v. Wade.

They said providers can legally still perform certain procedures in Texas before the trigger ban goes into effect, 30 days after the Supreme Court issues a judgment.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Paxton argued that the 1925 statute has always been on the books in Texas, just not enforceable after Roe v Wade.

Paxton put out a statement on Friday after the SCOTUS opinion was issued - stating that it could take up to two months for the trigger ban to go into effect, but also threatening criminal action if any clinics perform abortions in the meantime.

Right now, the ruling for a temporary restraining order allows certain abortions to continue in the state, but whether or not some providers choose to perform them is up to them.

"We understand that abortion at some point will be nearly, completely banned across the state of Texas, but that day is not today," said Marc Hearron, the senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The next court date for the case is scheduled for July 12.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Hearing scheduled that could allow certain abortions to resume for now