Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Texas Law Banning D&E Abortions

The ruling comes after abortion providers sued the Texas Attorney General.
A federal judge has placed a temporary injunction on Texas's anti-abortion Senate Bill 8.
A federal judge has placed a temporary injunction on Texas's anti-abortion Senate Bill 8.
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

Earlier this summer, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed widely criticized anti-abortion Senate Bill 8 into law. But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a 14-day injunction to stop the bill from going into effect ― particularly because of the bill’s ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions.

A group of abortion providers in Texas ― including Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Healthfiled a lawsuit against the state’s Attorney General’s office in July. The lawsuit claimed that a ban on D&E abortions would threaten a woman’s constitutionally protected access to safe abortions, and “impose an undue burden on women seeking second-trimester abortion.” D&E abortions are currently the most common procedure for second-trimester abortions.

Yeakel agreed.

“The act leaves that woman and her physician with abortion procedures that are more complex, risky, expensive, difficult for many women to arrange, and often involve multi-day visits to physicians, and overnight hospital stays,” he wrote.

As more and more states attempt to pass strict anti-abortion legislation, organizations like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights have worked to stop those bills from materializing. Earlier this summer, for example, the ACLU and Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit and successfully blocked an Arkansas bill that would have required women to get permission from their partners or guardians to get an abortion.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, named in the July lawsuit, is reportedly “disappointed” by the decision.

“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,” his spokesman said.

Many members of the pro-abortion rights community, however, have long defended access to D&E abortions, and women have spoken up about how the procedure was ultimately the best decision for both themselves and their fetuses.

In his ruling, Yeakel set September 14 as the bill’s hearing date, where he’ll then consider a more permanent injunction.

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