Texas judge temporarily protects abortion clinics from certain lawsuits under new law


(AFP via Getty Images)

A state judge has temporarily shielded Texas abortion clinics from lawsuits by an anti-abortion group under the state’s controversial new abortion law.

The temporary restraining order issued Friday by State District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin came in response to a request from Planned Parenthood that does not directly interfere with the new law.

However, it protects clinics from whistleblower lawsuits by the nonprofit Texas Right to Life, its legislative director and 100 unidentified people.

A hearing on a preliminary injunction request has been set for September 13.

The new legislation, dubbed the “Heartbeat Bill,” is the first of its kind in the United States and has been compared to something out of the dystopian novel and television series. The Handmaid’s Tale by commentators.

Taking effect Wednesday, it allows anyone, anywhere, to sue anyone linked to an abortion in which cardiac activity has been detected in the embryo. It can happen as early as six weeks pregnant, even before most women realize they are pregnant.

The petition filed by Planned Parenthood Thursday night said that about 85 to 90 percent of people who have abortions in Texas are at least six weeks pregnant.

The ordinance “offers protection to the courageous health care providers and staff at Planned Parenthood health centers across Texas who have continued to provide care to the best of their ability within the law. facing surveillance, harassment and threats from security guards eager to arrest them, ”Planned Parenthood spokesperson Helene Krasnoff said in a statement.

However, the action will not deter Texas Right to Life’s efforts, said Elizabeth Graham, vice president of the group.

In a statement, the group said: “We expect an impartial tribunal to dismiss the Planned Parenthood lawsuit. Until then, we will continue our diligent efforts to ensure that the abortion industry fully complies ”with the new law.

The US Supreme Court, with a Conservative 6-3 majority, rejected an attempt to block the new law, meaning that in Texas any private citizen can now sue a supplier who breaks that law. They would then be rewarded with $ 10,000 and additional legal fees if successful.

It is believed that this may create “bounty hunters” for abortion and force clinics in Texas to close their doors.

The vote was 5-4, with three Trump-appointed judges joining two other Tory judges. The dissenters were Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s three Liberal justices.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor called the new law “flagrantly unconstitutional” and said it “flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedent”.

The 1973 landmark Deer vs. Wade The Supreme Court ruling guaranteed women in the United States the right to abortion.

President Joe Biden has stated that he has been and continues to be “a strong supporter of Deer vs. Wade”, And denounced the“ vigilance system ”created by Texas law.

“Outrageously, it charges private citizens to take legal action against anyone they believe has helped another to have an abortion, which may even include family members, health workers, health workers. receiving a health care clinic or strangers unrelated to the individual, ”Biden said in a statement.

He asked the Justice Department to look at ways to stop people from acting as bounty hunters.

With an Associated Press report

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