The Texas Supreme Court allowed a 1925 law banning abortion to take effect Friday night, overturning a lower court ruling that had temporarily blocked it.
The ruling was the latest in a series of legal battles across the country following the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a nearly half-century-old ruling that had established a constitutional right to abortion nationwide.
In Texas, that meant a 1925 law written before Roe that banned abortions and punished those who performed them with possible jail time automatically went into effect, said Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general. . Although the law was not enforced after Roe’s decision in 1973, it nevertheless remained on the books.
That ban was temporarily blocked by a Harris County judge after abortion clinics sued for a reprieve, arguing that it had effectively been repealed after Roe’s landmark decision.
On Saturday morning, Mr Paxton called the repeal of the reprieve a “pro-life victory!” on Twitter.
“Our state’s pre-Roe laws prohibiting abortion in Texas are 100% good,” he wrote. “The litigation continues, but I will continue to win for the unborn babies of Texas.”
The state Supreme Court’s decision on Friday partially reversed the lower district court’s ruling. Both sides will continue to argue their case regarding the old law on July 12 in this district court. The lifting of the freeze did not allow criminal enforcement of the ban, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a press release. The group represents abortion clinics in the legal fight.
“Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans to become pregnant and give birth against their will, regardless of the devastating consequences,” said Julia Kaye, an attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
Even before Roe’s overthrow, a law passed last year in Texas only allowed abortions until about six weeks into the pregnancy. And when the Roe ruling was overturned, a “trigger ban” was activated to ban all abortions in Texas from the time of fertilization, with rare exceptions including saving the life of the mother. This law will come into force at the end of July.
Texas is one of several states where abortion rights groups have quickly taken their campaign to court, seeking to block or delay the implementation of abortion restrictions and bans. . By Friday, they had succeeded in Utah, Kentucky, Louisiana and Florida.