Abortion was functionally outlawed in Texas on Friday as the state’s top court ruled authorities can enforce a 1925 ban.
The nearly century-old law was invalidated by Roe v. Wade in 1973, but Republican attorney general Ken Paxton dredged it up after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark case last week.
After Paxton said he planned to enforce the law, reproductive rights groups sued in a Houston court to block it. A district judge agreed with them on Tuesday, temporarily restoring abortion rights in the nation’s second-largest state.
However, Paxton asked for an injunction from the conservative Texas Supreme Court, which agreed with him on Friday. A full hearing in the case is scheduled for July 12.
The high court’s ruling came with a curious caveat that criminal penalties from the 1925 law could not be enforced. However, civil penalties, including hefty fines and the potential stripping of medical licenses, are in play. Abortion clinics across the state shuttered services in response.
“I ache for us and for the people we have dedicated our lives to serve with the fabulous abortion care we provide, many who will be denied that right in the months and possibly years to come,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Women’s Health, which ran four clinics in the state.
Texas was also one of 13 states with a trigger law banning abortion upon the reversal of Roe v. Wade. However, that law won’t take effect for a few weeks.
Abortion access in Texas was already severely curtailed after the state’s conservative government passed a six-week abortion ban last year. Many women don’t even realize they’re pregnant at six weeks.
With News Wire Services