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The Texas Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a request by Planned Parenthood to resume its lawsuit, filed in a state district court, challenging the state’s near-total abortion ban.
Planned Parenthood last week asked the All-Republican court to overturn the Texas Multidistrict Litigation Panel’s decision to indefinitely stay its lawsuit alongside 13 other lawsuits in Travis County District Court. The five-judge panel barred the prosecution of cases at the behest of Texas Right to Life, a leading anti-abortion organization that helped draft abortion restrictions in Texas.
The lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood asked the court to declare unconstitutional the abortion law, which prohibits the procedure from six weeks pregnant. A hearing was scheduled this month, the organization said, before the panel of judges halted proceedings. In that case, the court temporarily barred Texas Right to Life from prosecuting Planned Parenthood for potential violations of the abortion law.
“The Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to continue is extremely disappointing and will likely deprive Planned Parenthood of its day in court, once again,” said Helene Krasnoff, vice president of Planned Parenthood for public policy and law litigation, in a news release. declaration.
Elizabeth Myers, a Dallas-based lawyer who represents plaintiffs for the 13 other stalled lawsuits, said Monday’s decision was disappointing, but called the stay a temporary setback.
“We will present our case and the defendants will ultimately have to attempt to defend SB8 on the merits,” Myers said. “This is something that the defendants are obviously afraid and don’t want to do, so it’s no surprise that they keep trying to delay it. At some point, their delay tactics will no longer work and our customers are looking forward to this day. “
These lawsuits are not the only legal challenges to the state’s abortion law, commonly known as Senate Bill 8.
Abortion providers, doctors, women’s rights groups and even the US government are fighting to overturn the law in federal courts. A federal appeals court is expected to hold a hearing in December in a lawsuit to overturn the restrictions. A federal judge is also should place an order soon on whether to temporarily block Texas abortion law enforcement in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice after the Biden administration vowed to challenge the law.
Also on Monday, the Biden administration reversed a 2018 ruling by former President Donald Trump that bans family planning clinics from receiving federal funding if they provide abortion referrals.
Texas’ near-total abortion ban has been in effect for more than a month, even as abortion providers, doctors, women’s rights groups and the US government have sought to block its application. The law prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many know they are pregnant. Meanwhile, most abortions in the state – experts estimate at over 85% – have stopped, and some abortion clinics have stopped offering the procedure altogether.
The unique structure of the law makes it difficult to block it in the courts. Although abortion remains a constitutional right under Supreme Court precedent, Texas was able to circumvent the precedent by offloading government law enforcement and law enforcement officials from private citizens.
Texas Right to Life applauded the decision of the Texas Supreme Court.
“We are grateful that Planned Parenthood’s attempt to shorten the normal litigation process has once again been rejected,” Kimberlyn Schwartz, director of media and communications for the organization, said in a statement.
Disclosure: Planned Parenthood has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial support plays no role in the Tribune ‘s journalism. Find a full list of them here.