Texas’ tough abortion law remains in place after the lawsuit is “effectively ended” by a Supreme Court decision

AUSTIN, Texas — Abortion providers in Texas on Friday conceded a final blow to their best hope of stopping the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, after a new ruling ended the little way forward the U.S. Supreme Court had left for clinics.

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court, which is controlled entirely by Republicans, spelled the near end of a federal lawsuit brought by abortion clinics before the restrictions went into effect in September, but were then almost universally dismissed.

“There is nothing left, this case is virtually over in terms of our challenge to the abortion ban,” said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which led the challenge to Texas law known as Senate Bill 8.

Although Texas abortion clinics are not dropping the lawsuit, they now expect it to be dismissed in the coming weeks or months
Texas law prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and makes no exceptions for rape or incest. Abortions in Texas have plummeted more than 50% since the law went into effect.

Other Republican-controlled states now pushing for similar legislation are likely to be further emboldened, including neighboring Oklahoma, where many Texas women have crossed state lines to get abortions in the past six months. The Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved half a dozen anti-abortion measures, including a Texas-style ban.

The Texas Supreme Court decision addressed whether medical admissions officers had an enforcement role under the law known as Senate Bill 8 and therefore could be sued by clinics looking for a possible way to stop the restrictions.

But Judge Jeffrey Boyd wrote for the court that these state officials had no enforcement authority, “either directly or indirectly.”

Abortion providers in Texas had already admitted they were running out of options and that the law would remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

The US Supreme Court, in a separate Mississippi case, has signaled that it will revoke abortion rights and possibly its landmark Roe v. Wade would overturn in a judgment expected later this year.

The number of monthly abortions in Texas fell by more than 50% in the two months after the law went into effect, according to state health figures. But this data only tells part of the story, and researchers say there has been a sharp increase in the number of Texas women going online to receive abortion pills in the mail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Texas’ tough abortion law remains in place after the lawsuit is “effectively ended” by a Supreme Court decision

Dais Johnston

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