Judge Blocks Texas Abortion Ban

A preliminary injunction hearing is set for Sept. 14

A patient room at Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. WWH serves as one of the plaintiffs suing the state over its ban on D&E abortion.
A patient room at Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. WWH serves as one of the plaintiffs suing the state over its ban on D&E abortion. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

In a court order issued Thursday, U.S. Judge Lee Yeakel has placed a short-term halt on an upcoming Texas law that would have banned women from accessing dilation and evacuation, or D&E abortion, considered the safest and most common method during the second trimester (around 15 weeks of pregnancy) by health professionals.

The rule, originally scheduled to take effect this Friday, Sept. 1, is part of the Texas Lege’s package anti-choice law Senate Bill 8, deemed a cruel and unnecessary omnibus bill by reproductive health advocates.

The temporary block is a victory for Texas abortion providers, including Austin’s Whole Woman’s Health, who filed suit against the law and especially for young, low-income and rural women, most affected by harsh abortion regulations. Attorneys with both the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Attorney General’s office presented arguments in Austin-based federal court on Tuesday, Aug. 29. CRR said the ban would inflict irreparable harm on women by blocking their constitutionally-protected right to an abortion and subject women to “medical experimentation” as the three alternatives to D&E pose greater risk, while the state offered little concrete evidence the law actually does anything to help women’s safety instead relying on "respecting the life of the unborn," as an argument in lieu of protecting women's health.

Yeakel found CRR's arguments to have a high likelihood of success when further argued. The state, he wrote, cannot "pursue its interests in a way that denies a woman her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is viable." In a 17-page ruling, Yeakel wrote that the law leaves women and their physicians 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." It serves the public interest to preserve the status quo to prevent harm to women and abortion providers, concluded Yeakel.

The temporary restraining order on the ban expires Sept. 14, at which point a preliminary injunction hearing is set to take place in Austin-based federal court.

To read the full ruling, click here.

For more, check out our War on Women's Health page.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More abortion rights
Fifth Circuit Hears Objections to Texas' Fetal Burial Law
Fifth Circuit Hears Objections to Texas' Fetal Burial Law
Anti-abortion measure currently on hold pending appeals

Saskia Henn, Sept. 18, 2019

Council Members To Back Abortion Support Budget Measure
CMs Plan To Support Abortion Funds
Garza, Casar plan support for $100K in abortion assistance

Mary Tuma, Aug. 15, 2019

More Reproductive Rights
City Council Redirects APD Funds to Abortion Support Access
City Council Redirects APD Funds to Abortion Support Access
$250K to flow toward abortion support services

Mary Tuma, Aug. 14, 2020

Pro-Choice Groups Strike Back at Malicious Abortion Foe
Pro-Choice Groups Strike Back at Malicious Abortion Foe
Leader of small-town ban effort slapped with defamation suit

Mary Tuma, June 11, 2020

More by Mary Tuma
ICE Targeted Immigrants in Sanctuary With Hefty Fines, Emails Show
ICE Targeted Immigrants in Sanctuary With Hefty Fines, Emails Show
Documents show Trump administration surveilled and targeted

Oct. 30, 2020

5th Circuit Strikes Down Texas Anti-Choice Law
5th Circuit Strikes Down Texas Anti-Choice Law
Judges say law would have forced women into "painful, invasive, and experimental" procedures

Oct. 23, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Reproductive Rights, Lee Yeakel, SB 8, D&E Abortion, abortion rights

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle