AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas Supreme Court blocked a lower court order Friday night that clinics can resume performing abortions, just days after some doctors resumed their practice. see the patient after the fall of Roe v. Wade.
It remains unclear whether Texas clinics that resumed seeing patients this week will discontinue service again. A hearing is expected later this month.
The fact that clinics in Texas are turning patients away, rescheduling appointments and now potentially canceling appointments – all within a week – illustrates the confusion and contention that has unfolded across the country since when Roe was overthrown.
An order from a Houston judge earlier this week reassured some clinics that they could temporarily continue abortions until six weeks pregnant. Then, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly asked the state supreme court, which houses nine Republican judges, to temporarily adjourn the order.
“These laws are confusing, unnecessary and cruel,” said Marc Hearron, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, after the order was issued Friday night.
Texas clinics have stopped performing abortions in the state of nearly 30 million people after the US Supreme Court last week overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to abortion. Technically, Texas dropped the abortion ban on books over the past 50 years while Roe was in place.
A copy of Friday order was provided by attorneys for Texas clinics. It could not be found immediately on the court’s website.
Abortion providers and patients around the country have struggled to navigate the evolving legal landscape around abortion and access laws.
In Florida, a law Ban on abortion after 15 weeks effective Friday, a day after a judge called it a violation of the state’s constitution and said he would sign an order temporarily blocking the law next week. The ban could have broader implications in the South, where Florida has broader access to the procedure than its neighbors.
The right to abortion was lost and regained over a period of several days in Kentucky. The so-called activation law that imposes a near-total ban on the procedure went into effect last Friday, but a judge blocked the law on Thursday, meaning the two service providers have broken the law. The state’s only pregnancy can continue to see patients – for now.
The legal controversy will almost certainly continue to cause chaos for Americans seeking abortions for the foreseeable future, with court rulings that could increase immediate access and a massive influx of new patients from providers. overwhelming out-of-state service delivery.
Even when women travel outside of states with a ban on abortion, they may have fewer options for ending their pregnancy because of the prospect of prosecution following them.
Planned Parenthood of Montana this week stopped providing abortion pills to patients living in states with bans “to minimize the potential risk to providers, health center staff, and patients in the face of with a rapidly changing landscape.”
Planned Parenthood North Central States, which offers the procedure in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, is telling patients that they must take both pills as part of their abortion-approved regimen.
Using the abortion pill has been the most common method of ending a pregnancy since 2000, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, the main drug used in medical abortions. Taken with misoprostol, a drug that causes cramps, that empty the uterus, it forms an abortifacient.
“There is a lot of confusion and concern that suppliers may be at risk and they are trying to limit their liability,” said Dr. to be able to provide care to those who need it. in Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco.
Emily Bisek, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood North Central States, said that in a “unclear and murky” regulatory environment, they decided to tell patients they had to be in legal status to complete the work. Medical abortion – requires taking two pills 24 to 48 hours apart. She said most patients from states with bans are expected to opt for surgical abortions.
Access to the pill has become a pivotal battle over abortion rights, with the Biden administration set to argue that states cannot ban an FDA-approved drug.
Kim Floren, who runs an abortion fund in South Dakota called the Justice Empowerment Network, said the development would further limit women’s choices.
“The purpose of these laws is to scare people,” Floren said of the states’ abortion bans and telemedicine consultations on medical abortions. “The logistics to enforce these things are a nightmare, but they rely on the fact that people will be scared.”
A South Dakota law that went into effect Friday threatens with felony penalties for anyone who prescribes the abortion pill without a license from the South Dakota Board of Medical Examiners and Osteopathy.
In Alabama, Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said it was looking into whether people or groups could be prosecuted for helping women fund and go to out-of-state abortion appointments.
The Yellowhammer Foundation, an Alabama-based group that helps low-income women pay for abortions and travel, said it is pausing for two weeks because of a lack of clarity in state laws.
“This is a pause and we’ll be looking at how we can help you get money and resources legally and look like that,” said Kelsea McLain, Yellowhammer’s director of healthcare outreach. any”.
Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said employees at their clinics have seen women drive from far to Texas without stopping — or booking appointments. She said women who have passed 15 weeks are asked to leave information and promise to call back if the judge signs a temporary restraining order.
However, there is concern that the order may be temporary and that the law could go into effect again later, creating further confusion.
“It was terrible for the patients,” she said. “We’re really worried about what’s going to happen.”
Izaguirre reported from Tallahassee, Florida, and Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. AP writers Dylan Lovan contributed from Louisville, Kentucky; Adriana Gomez Licon from Miami; and Kim Chandler from Montgomery, Alabama.