AP

Texas Supreme Court blocks order that resumed abortions

Jul 1, 2022, 12:39 PM | Updated: 10:48 pm

Casper Byrd, right, of Bowling Green, sits with friends as they listen to various speakers share th...

Casper Byrd, right, of Bowling Green, sits with friends as they listen to various speakers share their experiences with abortion and women's rights at the BG Freedom Walkers' protest against the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Kentucky's trigger law to ban abortion, at Circus Square Park in Bowling Green, Ky., Saturday, June 25, 2022. (Grace Ramey/Daily News via AP)

(Grace Ramey/Daily News via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court blocked a lower court order late Friday night that said clinics could continue performing abortions, just days after some doctors had resumed seeing patients after the fall of Roe v. Wade.

It was not immediately clear whether Texas clinics that had resumed seeing patients this week would halt services again. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.

The whiplash of Texas clinics turning away patients, rescheduling them, and now potentially canceling appointments again — all in the span of a week — illustrated the confusion and scrambling taking place across the country since Roe was overturned.

An order by a Houston judge earlier this week had reassured some clinics they could temporarily resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. That was quickly followed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the state’s highest court, which is stocked with nine Republican justices, to temporarily put the order on hold.

“These laws are confusing, unnecessary, and cruel,” said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, after the order was issued Friday night.

Clinics in Texas had stopped performing abortions in the state of nearly 30 million people after the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to abortion. Texas had technically left an abortion ban on the books for the past 50 years while Roe was in place.

A copy of Friday’s order was provided by attorneys for Texas clinics. It could not immediately be found on the court’s website.

Abortion providers and patients across the country have been struggling to navigate the evolving legal landscape around abortion laws and access.

In Florida, a law banning abortions after 15 weeks went into effect Friday, the 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. The ban could have broader implications in the South, where Florida has wider access to the procedure than its neighbors.

Abortion rights have been lost and regained in the span of a few days in Kentucky. A so-called trigger law imposing a near-total ban on the procedure took effect last Friday, but a judge blocked the law Thursday, meaning the state’s only two abortion providers can resume seeing patients — for now.

The legal wrangling is almost certain to continue to cause chaos for Americans seeking abortions in the near future, with court rulings able to upend access at a moment’s notice and an influx of new patients from out of state overwhelming providers.

Even when women travel outside states with abortion bans in place, they may have fewer options to end their pregnancies as the prospect of prosecution follows them.

Planned Parenthood of Montana this week stopped providing medication abortions to patients who live in states with bans “to minimize potential risk for providers, health center staff, and patients in the face of a rapidly changing landscape.”

Planned Parenthood North Central States, which offers the procedure in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, is telling its patients that they must take both pills in the regimen in a state that allows abortions.

The use of abortion pills has been the most common method to end a pregnancy since 2000, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone — the main drug used in medication abortions. Taken with misoprostol, a drug that causes cramping that empties the womb, it constitutes the abortion pill.

“There’s a lot of confusion and concern that the providers may be at risk, and they are trying to limit their liability so they can provide care to people who need it,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, who directs the research group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco.

Emily Bisek, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood North Central States, said that in an “unknown and murky” legal environment, they decided to tell patients they must be in a state where it is legal to complete the medication abortion — which requires taking two drugs 24 to 48 hours apart. She said most patients from states with bans are expected to opt for surgical abortions.

Access to the pills has become a key battle in abortion rights, with the Biden administration preparing to argue states can’t ban a medication that has received FDA approval.

Kim Floren, who operates an abortion fund in South Dakota called Justice Empowerment Network, said the development would further limit women’s choices.

“The purpose of these laws anyways is to scare people,” Floren said of states’ bans on abortions and telemedicine consultations for medication abortions. “The logistics to actually enforcing these is a nightmare, but they rely on the fact that people are going to be scared.”

A South Dakota law took effect Friday that threatens a felony punishment for anyone who prescribes medication for an abortion without a license from the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners.

In Alabama, Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said it is reviewing whether people or groups could face prosecution for helping women fund and travel to out-of-state abortion appointments.

Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama-based group that helps low-income women cover abortion and travel costs, said it is pausing operation for two weeks because of the lack of clarity under state law.

“This is a temporary pause, and we’re going to figure out how we can legally get you money and resources and what that looks like,” said Kelsea McLain, Yellowhammer’s health care access director.

Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said staff members at its clinics have seen women driving from as far as Texas without stopping or making an appointment. Women who are past 15 weeks are being asked to leave their information and promised a call back when a judge signs the order temporarily blocking the restriction, she said.

Still, there is concern that the order may be only temporary and the law may again go into effect later, creating additional confusion.

“It’s terrible for patients,” she said. “We are really nervous about what is going to happen.”

___

Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. AP writers Paul Weber contributed from Austin, Texas; Dylan Lovan from Louisville, Kentucky; Adriana Gomez Licon from Miami; and Kim Chandler from Montgomery, Alabama.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

4 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

5 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

12 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

13 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

15 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Texas Supreme Court blocks order that resumed abortions