Texas clinics suspend abortions after state Supreme Court ruling

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Clinics were shutting down abortion services in the nation’s second-largest state Saturday after the Texas Supreme Court blocked an order briefly allowing the procedure to resume in some cases, the latest legal dispute across the United States following the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Friday night’s ruling halted a three-day order from a Houston judge that said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into a pregnancy. The next day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted abortions were now being performed in a state of nearly 30 million people.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said the ruling forced an end to abortions at its four Texas clinics, and that workers were finishing abortion operations and having “heartbreaking conversations” with women whose appointments were canceled. .

“I ache for ourselves and for the people we have dedicated our lives to serving with the fabulous abortion care we provide, many of whom will be denied that right for months and possibly years to come,” Hagstrom said. Miller in a statement.

Planned Parenthood’s multiple affiliates in Texas had not resumed abortion services even after the restraining order was issued Tuesday.

At issue was a long-dormant 1925 criminal law that targets people who perform abortions. The clinics had argued that it was invalid after abortion became a constitutional right in the US in 1973. However, the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe decision on June 24, leaving abortion policy to the states.

“Pro-life victory! … The litigation continues, but I will still win for the unborn babies of Texas,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who had asked the state Supreme Court to intervene.

On the other hand, Texas has a 2021 law that was designed to ban abortion should the Roe be overturned. It goes into effect in the coming weeks.

“Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans to become pregnant and give birth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences,” said the ACLU’s Julia Kaye.

Protesters gather at the federal courthouse following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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 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 it next week. The ban could have broader implications in the South, as Florida currently allows greater access to the procedure than neighboring states.

Even when women travel outside of states where abortion is prohibited, they may have fewer options to terminate their pregnancies as they are haunted by the possibility of prosecution.

This week, Planned Parenthood of Montana stopped providing medical abortions to patients who live in states with a ban.

Planned Parenthood North Central States, which offers the procedure in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, tells patients they must take both pills in the regimen while in a state that allows abortion.

The use of pills has been the most common method of terminating a pregnancy since 2000, when the US Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, the main drug used in medical abortions. Taken with misoprostol, a drug that causes cramps that empty the womb, it constitutes the abortion pill.

Also on Friday, Google, the company behind the Internet’s dominant search engine and the Android software that runs on most smartphones, said it would automatically remove information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger possible legal problems.

In addition to abortion clinics, Google cited counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics and cosmetic surgery clinics as destinations that will be removed from location histories. Users have always had the option to edit their location histories on their own, but now Google will do it for them as an added level of protection.

“We are committed to providing strong privacy protections for the people who use our products, and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and improve these protections,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president at Google, in a blog post.

White reported from Detroit.

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