Abortion services resume at Texas clinics

Abortion services have resumed at some Texas clinics after a federal judge blocked enforcement of the state’s six-week abortion ban.

One clinic, Whole Woman’s Health, said on Twitter that it was able to provide abortions to people who had already complied with Texas’ mandatory 24-hour waiting period. 

“We’ve reached out to people on the waiting list we had to turn away in September. In this climate, every single abortion we can provide is a win,” the clinic said on Twitter.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman blocked the Texas law, which bans abortions after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, which normally occurs at around six weeks of pregnancy. The law also allowed private citizens to sue those who “aid or abet” in abortions in violation of the law. 

Wednesday’s order was in response to an emergency request from the Biden administration to prevent enforcement of the law.

Pittman said that Texas pursued an “unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In all, at least six clinics resumed abortion services on Thursday or were preparing to offer them again, Center for Reproductive Rights spokesperson Kelly Krause told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

But some providers are fearful that the Texas law allows for people to file lawsuits retroactively, The Wall Street Journal reported. Linda Shafer, the administrator at Aaron Women’s Clinic in Houston, told the newspaper that the clinic is abiding by the heartbeat law until the appellate court rules.

“There’s definitely still fear of lawsuits, so we’re sticking to the six-week thing,” Shafer told the Journal.

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