Published: Sat, September 02, 2017
Culture | By Marion Pratt

Judge temporarily blocks Texas abortion law

Judge temporarily blocks Texas abortion law

A federal judge temporarily blocked an anti-abortion law set to take effect in Texas on Friday that would have limited second trimester abortions in that state.

In a disappointing but not wholly unexpected ruling, a liberal Texas judge blocked a law Thursday that would protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions.

"We know that about 95 percent of abortions in the second trimester are performed using the D&E procedures", Dr. Bhavik Kumar, an abortion provider with Whole Woman's Health, says.

"This decision is a victory for Texas women, and especially for people of color, those with low-incomes, and rural Texans for whom accessing care is even more hard", Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said in a statement.

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Yeakel said that the plaintiffs will "suffer irreparable harm by being unable to access the most commonly used and safest pre-viability second trimester abortion procedure ahead of any substantial constitutional review of the act", defending his decision to put an temporary ban on abortion restrictions.

"Today's ruling is the latest victory upholding a woman's right to safe and legal abortion", she said. For example, the identification of major fetal anomalies most commonly occurs in the second trimester, and women may choose to terminate a pregnancy for that reason.

During the procedure, physicians use a combination of suction and forceps to remove a fetus and other tissue from the uterus.

It's a fast, outpatient procedure. This procedure can last hours or days, and is more painful and can be more medically risky for the patient.

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According to a 17-page ruling, proponents of the new legislation argued that procedures causing fetal demise before performing the D&E did not pose any significant health risks to women and would lead to a "humane termination".

An injection of potassium chloride directly into the fetal heart, for example, would cause demise, but would also be fatal to the woman if administered incorrectly. The U.S. Supreme Court last summer threw out provisions of state law that required abortion clinic facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and require their physicians to gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

He added that "it is in the public interest to preserve the status quo and give the parties ample opportunity to develop the record regarding the constitutional questions raised without subjecting plaintiffs or the public to any of the act's potential harms". "The Texas attorney general will continue to defend our state's legal right to protect the basic human rights and dignity of the unborn".

The temporary restraining order expires September 14, when the parties will return to court for a preliminary injunction hearing.

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In filings and in court, the Texas Attorney General's office powerfully argued SB 8 clearly only prohibits one specific type of D&E abortion, which the state Legislature defined as "Dismemberment Abortions".

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