The Texas Supreme Court allowed a 1925 law banning abortion to go into effect late Friday night, overturning a lower court ruling that temporarily blocked it.
Roe v. the nearly half-century-old ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion nationwide. The decision is the latest in a series of legal battles across the country that followed the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Wade.
In Texas, a 1925 pre-Roe law banning abortions and punishing those who performed them with possible prison sentences automatically took effect, said Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general. Although the law was not enforced after Roe was decided in 1973, it remained on the books.
After abortion clinics sued for the ban, the ban was temporarily blocked by a Harris County judge, arguing that it was effectively overturned after the landmark Roe ruling.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Paxton called the stay a “victory for pro-life.” On that day Twitter.
“Our state’s pre-ro laws prohibiting abortion in Texas are 100% good law,” he wrote. “The case continues, but I will continue to win for the unborn children of Texas.”
The state Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday partially overturned a lower district court’s decision. Both sides will continue to argue their case regarding the old law in the district court on July 12. Lifting the freeze does not allow criminal enforcement of the ban, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a news release. The group represents abortion clinics in legal battles.
“Extremist politicians are engaged in a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences,” said Julia Kaye, an attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
Before Roe was overturned, a law passed last year in Texas allowed abortions only up to six weeks into pregnancy. And when the Roe decision was overturned, a “trigger ban” was implemented in Texas to ban all abortions from the moment of conception, with rare exceptions including those to save the mother’s life. The law goes into effect at the end of July.
Texas is one of several states where abortion rights groups have quickly taken their campaign to the courts, aiming to block or delay the implementation of abortion restrictions and bans. By Friday, they had won Utah, Kentucky, Louisiana and Florida.
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