It was not immediately clear if the Texas clinics that had resumed seeing patients this week will suspend services again. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.
The spate of Texas clinics turning away patients, rescheduling their appointments, and now potentially canceling them again — all in the span of a week — illustrates the turmoil around the country since the US Supreme Court ruling.
An order from a Houston judge earlier this week had assured some clinics that they could temporarily resume abortions for pregnancies up to six weeks gestation. That was quickly followed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to the state’s highest court, which has nine Republican justices, to temporarily suspend the order.
“These laws are confusing, unnecessary and cruel,” Marc Hearron, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said after the order was issued Friday night.
Clinics in Texas had 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.
Attorneys for the Texas clinics provided a copy of Friday’s order, which could not be found on the court’s website.
Abortion providers and patients across the country have been struggling to navigate the changing legal landscape around abortion laws and access.
In Florida, a law banning abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation took effect Friday, a day after a judge called it a violation of the state Constitution and said he would sign an order temporarily blocking the law next week. week. The ban will have broader implications in the South, where Florida has broader access to the procedure than its neighboring states.
The right to abortion was lost and regained within a few days in Kentucky. A so-called trigger law imposing a near-total ban on abortion went into effect last Friday, but a judge blocked the law on Thursday, meaning the state’s only two abortion providers can resume caring for patients, for now. .
Legal wrangling is almost certain to continue to wreak havoc for Americans seeking abortions in the near future, with court rulings likely to nullify access at any time and an influx of new patients from out of state, overwhelming providers.
Even when women travel outside of states where abortion is prohibited, they may have fewer options to terminate their pregnancies, as there is a possibility that they will be prosecuted.
This week, Planned Parenthood of Montana stopped providing medical abortions to patients living in states with bans “to minimize potential risk to providers, facility staff and patients in a rapidly changing landscape.”