Abortions of pregnancies up to six weeks can resume at some clinics in Texas after a temporary restraining order was granted Tuesday morning in Harris County to stop the state from enforcing any pre-Roe v. Wade abortion bans.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in Texas Monday afternoon seeking to “restore early abortion access for two more months or longer.”
The ACLU of Texas confirmed to NBC 5 Tuesday morning that the TRO (see below) had been granted and that abortions can continue at some clinics.
The next hearing is July 12 in Houston where a more permanent injunction will be considered for the pre-Roe v. Wade laws.
“Any day that we are able to provide the abortions Texans need and deserve is a good day! This TRO means that we now have the opportunity to open our doors in Texas before the trigger ban takes effect a month or two from now. We must still comply with Texas regulations like the six week ban, the 24 hour waiting period and the two visit requirement, so even this win is heavily restricted. Nevertheless, we are contacting the patients on our waiting lists and we will resume services in our 4 Texas clinics and help as many people as soon as possible,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.
Miller said they will be reopening their four Texas clinics in Austin, Fort Worth, McKinney and McAllen, as soon as possible.
The TRO could be a short-lived victory. Once the Supreme Court’s judgement is issued then Texas’ trigger law would go into effect and new lawsuits to challenge that law would need to be filed. It typically takes the Supreme Court about a month to file the judgement after issuing their opinion, which is what took place last Friday.
What is Texas’ Trigger Law?
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Twitter Monday afternoon he anticipated the lawsuit filed Monday and that the state was ready to defend “pro-life laws” and that the pro-abortion left will lose.
“The pro-abortion left is—as expected—now suing me and the State of Texas to block our state’s pro-life laws. I anticipated this and am ready. They will lose. Texas laws defending the unborn will win,” Paxton tweeted.
The ACLU of Texas said the lawsuit is the first step to extend abortion care for women in Texas.
“Our fight against the state of Texas’ unrelenting campaign to criminalize abortion did not end when the Supreme Court overturned Roe,” said Adriana Piñon, acting legal director for the ACLU of Texas. “This lawsuit is the first step in a post-Roe world to extend care for people in Texas. We will continue using every tool we have, on every front we can: you will hear us at the legislature; you will also hear us on the streets because Texans deserve bodily autonomy.”
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the TRO only applies to the abortion providers listed in the lawsuit filed Monday which includes the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, Morrison & Foerster, LLP, and Hayward PLLC on behalf of Whole Woman’s Health, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, Austin Women’s Health Center, Houston Women’s Clinic, Houston Women’s Reproductive Services, and Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center.
WHOLE WOMAN’S HEALTH v. KEN PAXTON