Abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday that seeks an injunction against against a Texas law that bans a common method of second-trimester abortions. The complaint was filed in response to Senate Bill 8 [materials], which was signed in law [JURIST report] in June by Texas Governor Greg Abbott [official website]. The bill bans second trimester dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, a safe and widely used method that can be performed in an outpatient setting. Whole Woman’s Health, and other women’s health advocacy groups such as Planned Parenthood [advocacy websites], allege that:
Enforcement of the D&E ban would irreparably harm women seeking second-trimester abortions by denying them access to the safest and most common method of abortion after approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy. Even if limited access remains available, the ban forces women seeking second-trimester abortions to undergo more complex and risky procedures, including compelling them to undergo painful, untested, and invasive medical procedures, in order to access their constitutional right to abortion.
SB 8 is scheduled to go into effect September 1.
Unencumbered access to abortion has been a recent issue since President Donald Trump vowed to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. In June the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected [JURIST report] an anti-abortion health clinic’s argument that a San Francisco ordinance violated their First Amendment right to free speech. Also in June in the state of Ohio lawmakers voted [JURIST report] 24-9 in favor of a bill that would criminalize a common second trimester abortion procedure. Earlier that month the Supreme Court of Georgia barred doctors [JURIST report] from suing state over abortion law, holding that the state is immune from litigation unless it consents to being sued, rejecting a challenge to a 20-week abortion ban. In May Trump’s administration announced [JURIST report] plans to expand the so-called Mexico City Policy blocking international family planning assistance through the US Agency for International Development to any groups or programs that provide abortion or abortion education to women. Also in May Trump signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that scales back an Obama administration regulation that protected certain federal funds for organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. In February the US House of Representatives approved a bill [JURIST report] that would overturn the Obama administration’s rule prohibiting states from denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood and passed a bill [JURIST op-ed] that makes permanent restrictions on federal funding abortion. In February the Pennsylvania Senate approved SB 3 [JURIST report], putting Pennsylvania in line to become the seventeenth state to pass a bill banning abortions past 20 weeks.