Texas Clinics: Abortion Law Fight Is Over

State Supreme Court rules against lawsuit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2022 2:22 PM CST
Texas Clinics: Abortion Law Fight Is Over
People attend the Women's March ATX rally on Oct., 2, 2021, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.   (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman, File)

(Newser) – Texas abortion providers on Friday conceded a final blow to their best hope of stopping the nation's most restrictive abortion law after a new ruling ended what little path to legal relief the US Supreme Court had left for clinics. The decision by the Texas Supreme Court, which is entirely controlled by Republicans, spelled the coming end to a federal lawsuit that clinics filed even before the restrictions took effect in September, the AP reports.

"There is nothing left, this case is effectively over with respect to our challenge to the abortion ban," said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which led the challenge against the Texas. Although Texas clinics are not dropping the lawsuit, they now expect it will be dismissed in the coming weeks or months. The measure prohibits performing abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Abortions in Texas have plummeted by more than 50% since the law took effect.

The Texas Supreme Court's decision turned on whether medical licensing officials had an enforcement role under the law, and therefore could be sued by clinics that are reaching for any possible way to halt the restrictions. State Solicitor General Judd Stone argued last month that there was no "ordinary English interpretation that entertains any possibility of public enforcement," per the Texas Tribune. Writing for the court Friday, Justice Jeffrey Boyd appeared to agree, saying those state officials have no enforcement authority "either directly or indirectly." (Read more texas abortion law stories.)

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