Federal Judge Halts Texas' Latest Anti-Abortion Law

Lydia FlemingSep 02, 2017

A federal judge has temporarily stopped Texas officials from enforcing a ban on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure, just one day before the ban was set to go into effect.

In a disappointing but not wholly unexpected ruling, a liberal Texas judge blocked a law Thursday that would protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions.

Advocates for the law say the second-trimester procedure - known as dilatation and evacuation - is cruel an inhumane, although abortion providers say the procedure is the safest for women in the second term of their pregnancy. Texas abortion providers filed a retaliatory lawsuit in July, however, claiming that the new restrictions put an unconstitutional limit on abortion access by banning "dilation and evacuation".

Yeakel's ruling is not a big surprise.

Founded in 1973, Texas Right to Life is the oldest and largest Pro-Life organization in Texas. The order also follows Texas courts banning dismemberment abortions in May. Recognized as the statewide leader of the Pro-Life movement in Texas, Texas Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect the rights of the unborn, persons with disabilities, the sick, the elderly, and the vulnerable through legal, peaceful, and prayerful means.

The ban on D&E procedures in the second trimester was part of a broader measure, SB 8, that also restricted abortion providers ability to donate fetal tissue to researchers.

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"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.

An exam room at ChoiceWorks, formerly Whole Woman's Health Clinic, on June 27, 2016, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of HB 2 restricting women's access to abortions in Texas.

The legislation specifically prohibited the performance of abortion procedures that extract "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, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps, or performs any combination of those actions on, a piece of the unborn child's body to cut or rip the piece from the body".

"In the hearing over the temporary restraining order earlier this week", they add, "the attorney for the state opened his comments in court clarifying, 'SB 8 is created to do one thing: stop the brutal and gruesome procedure of living dismemberment abortions'".

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

But a lawyer representing abortion clinics and doctors argued that the state identified three methods of causing fetal demise that carry increased health risks for women, aren't fully effective and are untested in pregnancies of less than 18 weeks, requiring doctors to essentially "experiment" on patients. Other states that have implemented the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act were Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

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