Texas law banning second-trimester abortion procedure delayed by federal judge

Sep 02, 2017, 00:53
Texas law banning second-trimester abortion procedure delayed by federal judge

As NPR reports, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued an injunction preventing Texas from outlawing the procedure for two weeks.

Without the use of D&E, that leaves a "woman and her physician with abortion procedures that are more complex, risky, expensive, hard for many women to arrange, and often involve multi-day visits to physicians, and overnight hospital stays", Yeakel wrote.

The temporary block is a victory for Texas abortion providers, including Austin's Whole Woman's Health, who filed suit against the law and especially for young, low-income and rural women, most affected by harsh abortion regulations. "SB 8 is created to do one thing: stop the brutal and gruesome procedure of living dismemberment abortions", he told the court.

The rule, originally scheduled to take effect this Friday, Sept. 1, is part of the Texas Lege's package anti-choice law Senate Bill 8, deemed a cruel and unnecessary omnibus bill by reproductive health advocates.

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"Dismemberment abortions are gruesome and inhumane, which makes it troubling that a district court would block Texas' lawful authority to protect the life of unborn children from such a barbaric practice", said Marc Rylander, director of communications for the Office of the Attorney General.

A hearing is set for September 14 to determine whether to continue an injunction while the case proceeds.

Yeakel said that the plaintiffs will "suffer irreparable harm by being unable to access the most commonly used and safest pre-viability second trimester abortion procedure ahead of any substantial constitutional review of the act", defending his decision to put an temporary ban on abortion restrictions.

The legislation received strong support in the Texas legislature, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law in June.

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In a statement, Texas Right to Life said "The abortion clinic lawyers are attempting to frame this lawsuit on how SB 8 will affect Texas women and the abortion industry, however the important question before the court is whether this type of procedure is something Texas has the right to prohibit".

Yeakel's ruling is not a big surprise. The order also follows Texas courts banning dismemberment abortions in May.

"While some Pro-Lifers may be tempted to despair at today's ruling, this is the first step in a longer and consequential legal battle over this dynamic and historic legislation", Texas Right to Life said in a statement. Others, in Louisiana, Kansas and Oklahoma, haven't taken effect because of court challenges brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, according to the organization.

The Texas law defined dismemberment abortions as extracting "the unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that ... slices, crushes, or grasps ... a piece of the unborn child's body to cut or rip the piece from the body".

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The law made Texas the eighth state to protect developing preborn children from such a heinous act.

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