Texas Supreme Court blocks lower court’s order for clinics to resume abortions – National

The Texas Supreme Court has blocked a lower court order that had allowed state clinics to continue performing abortions, even after the US Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 ruling upholding a constitutional right to abortion.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Texas clinics, which resumed performing abortions just days ago, would resume service after the ruling late Friday night. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.

The whiplash of Texas clinics turning away patients, rescheduling them, and now potentially canceling appointments again — all within a week — illustrates the confusion and confusion that has taken place across the country since Roe v. Wade fell.

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An order issued by a Houston judge on Tuesday assured some clinics that they could temporarily resume abortions for up to six weeks after the onset of pregnancy. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was quick to ask the state’s highest court, which is staffed by nine Republican judges, to temporarily stay that order.

“These laws are confusing, unnecessary and cruel,” Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said after the order was issued Friday night.

Clinics in Texas — a state of nearly 30 million people — stopped providing abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade had picked up. Texas had had an abortion ban on the books for the past 50 years while Roe was in effect.


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Attorneys for the Texas clinics provided a copy of Friday’s order, which was not immediately available on the court’s website.

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Abortion providers and patients across the country are struggling to navigate the evolving legal landscape surrounding abortion laws and access.

In Florida, a law banning abortions after 15 weeks went into effect Friday, a day after a judge called it a violation of the state constitution and said he would sign an order temporarily blocking the law next week. The ban could have wider implications in the South, where Florida has broader access to the process than its neighbors.

Abortion rights were lost and regained in Kentucky within days. A so-called trigger law imposing a near-total ban on the procedure went into effect last Friday, but a judge blocked the law Thursday, meaning the state’s only two abortion providers can see patients again for now.

The legal tussle will almost certainly continue to wreak havoc for Americans seeking abortions for the near future as court rulings upend access in the short term and an influx of new patients from out-of-state providers is overwhelming.

Even when women travel to states with abortion bans, they may have fewer opportunities to terminate their pregnancy as the prospect of criminal prosecution follows them.

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Planned Parenthood of Montana this week stopped offering medical abortions to patients living in states “to minimize the potential risk to providers, health center workers and patients in the face of a rapidly changing landscape.”

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Planned Parenthood North Central States, which offers the procedure in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, tells its patients that they must take both regimen pills in a state that allows abortions.

The use of abortion pills has been the most common method used to terminate a pregnancy since 2000, when the US Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, the main drug used in medical abortions. Taken with misoprostol, a drug that causes spasms that empty the uterus, it makes up the abortion pill.

“There is a lot of confusion and concern that providers may be at risk and they are trying to limit their liability so they can care for people who need them,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, who leads the Advancing New Standards research group in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.


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Emily Bisek, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood North Central States, said that in an “unknown and murky” legal environment, they decided to tell patients they must be in a state where it’s legal to have the performing a medical abortion – which requires taking two medications 24 to 48 hours apart. She said most patients from ban states are likely to choose surgical abortions.

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Access to the pills has become a pivotal fight for abortion rights, and the Biden administration is preparing to argue that states cannot ban a drug that has received FDA approval.

Kim Floren, who runs an abortion fund in South Dakota called the Justice Empowerment Network, said the development would further limit women’s choices.

“The purpose of these laws is to scare people anyway,” Floren said of the state’s bans on abortions and telemedicine consultations for medical abortions. “The logistics of actually enforcing these are a nightmare, but they’re counting on people going to be scared.”

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A South Dakota law went into effect Friday, threatening anyone who prescribes drugs for an abortion without a license from the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners with a criminal offense.

In Alabama, Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said it was reviewing whether individuals or groups could be prosecuted for helping women fund and travel to outofstate abortion appointments.

Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama-based group that helps low-income women meet abortion and travel costs, said it is suspending operations for two weeks over ambiguities in state law.

“This is a temporary hiatus and we’re going to figure out how to legally get you money and resources and what that looks like,” said Kelsea McLain, Yellowhammer’s director of healthcare access.

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Canada faces its own inequalities in access to abortion and could fight as a “safe haven”.


Canada faces its own inequalities in access to abortion and could fight as a “safe haven”.

Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said employees at her clinics saw women driving from Texas without stopping — or making an appointment. Women over 15 weeks have been asked to leave their information and promised a call back if a judge signs the order temporarily blocking the restriction, she said.

However, there is concern that the order could only be temporary and the law could come into force again later, adding further confusion.

“It’s terrible for the patients,” she said. “We’re really nervous about what’s going to happen.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

https://globalnews.ca/news/8962800/texas-supreme-court-blocks-resume-abortions/ Texas Supreme Court blocks lower court’s order for clinics to resume abortions – National

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