AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas clinics on Saturday canceled appointments booked during a 48-hour break from the U.S. abortion law, prompting tired suppliers to turn to the Supreme Court again. What
The Biden administration, which sued Texas over a bill known as Senate Bill 8, has not yet said whether the federal appeals court will follow suit after the law is restored by the end of Friday. ۔ The latest twist comes just two days after an Austin lower court suspended the law, which bans abortions after heart activity is detected, usually about six weeks, Before some women know they are pregnant. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or adultery.
The White House did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
At the moment, at least, the law is in the hands of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the sanctions to be reintroduced for further arguments. Meanwhile, Texas abortion providers and patients are back where they have been for the past six weeks.
Out-of-state clinics are already full of Texas patients who have had abortions. Providers say others are being forced to delay the pregnancy, or are waiting in the hopes that the courts will overturn the law, which will take effect on September 1.
There are also new questions – including abortion opponents seeking to punish Texas physicians who performed abortions in a short window. The law was suspended from late Wednesday to late Friday. Texas leaves full enforcement in the hands of private citizens who could receive ڈالر 10,000 in damages or more if they successfully prosecute abortion providers who violate the ban.
Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest abortion group, set up a tipline to get reports of violators. The group’s legislative director, John Sego, said about a dozen calls came after U.S. District Judge Robert Putman suspended the law.
Although some Texas clinics say they have briefly resumed abortions for patients over six weeks, Sego said there are no lawsuits in their group’s work. He said the clinic’s public statements “did not match what we saw on the ground”, which he said included a network of observers and centers for pregnancy attacks.
“I don’t have any credible evidence at the time of the lawsuit that we will bring forward,” Sego said Saturday.
Before the law was enacted, there were about two dozen abortion clinics in Texas. At least six clinics resumed abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO at Whole Women’s Health, which has four abortion clinics in Texas, said she did not have the number of abortions performed for her patients for more than six weeks. But it was reduced to “very little”. He said his clinics were again abiding by the law and acknowledged the risks posed by his doctors and staff.
“Of course we’re all worried,” he said. “But we also feel a deep commitment to providing abortion care when it is legal to do so, we did.”
Pitman, a federal judge who overturned Texas law in a 113-page opinion on Wednesday, was appointed by President Barack Obama. He called the law an “aggressive deprivation” of the constitutional right to abortion, but his decision was quickly overturned – at least for now – in a one-page order from the Fifth Circuit on Friday night.
The same appeals court had earlier allowed the Texas sanctions to take effect in September in a separate lawsuit filed by abortion providers. This time, the court gave the Justice Department until 5 p.m. Tuesday to respond.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The Texas Court of Appeals is seeking a permanent restraining order that will allow the law to run while the case is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Nancy Northhop, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, urged the Supreme Court to “take this madness forward and stop it.” Last month, the High Court allowed the law to proceed in a 5-4 decision, although it did so without ruling on the constitutionality of the law.
A 1992 Supreme Court decision barred states from banning abortion before abortion, where the fetus could survive out of the womb for 24 weeks. But the Texas version has overtaken the courts because of its enforcement mechanism, which leaves enforcement to private citizens and not to prosecutors, which critics say is a reward.
The Biden administration could take the case back to the Supreme Court and ask it to reinstate Putman’s order soon, although it is unclear whether he will do so.
“I’m not too optimistic about what could happen in the Supreme Court,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
“But not too much reduction, right?” he said. The question is, what changed the last time they saw him? This is the whole opinion, this whole hearing is before the judge and the record. So that might be enough. ”