Last week saw a whirlwind of headlines regarding abortion in Texas. Even with multiple abortion bans, the state is not done trying to limit access to abortion care.
First, there was a lawsuit from the Center for Reproductive Rights filed on behalf of five women and two providers against indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton and the state medical board. The plaintiffs are not seeking to reverse the state’s abortion ban, but they are asking for a “declaratory judgment” to make clear that there should be medical exceptions to protect the health of pregnant individuals facing emergencies in the state of Texas.
The filing details the harrowing and debilitating impacts the abortion ban had on the five patients who needed basic healthcare. In one instance, a healthcare provider could only tell one of the women to go out of state for care.
On the other end of the legal spectrum, there was a disturbing wrongful death lawsuit filed by a man in Galveston County against three friends of his ex-wife. The man is claiming that the women helped his ex-wife obtain abortion pills.
This appears to be the first lawsuit filed after Texas passed Senate Bill 8, an abortion ban that also allows individuals to sue anybody they believe has aided or abetted an abortion. The lawyers representing the man in Galveston County are Jonathan Mitchell, the architect of SB 8 and Republican State Rep. Brisco Cain.
As SB 8 was being debated, many abortion rights groups noted that the vague wording of the law could make anybody, a supportive family member or even a rideshare driver, liable for a lawsuit. After the lawsuit was filed in Galveston County, former state Senator Wendy Davis, who is now a senior advisor with Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, released a statement noting the troubling details of the case.
Lastly, there’s been movement in a lawsuit that is seeking to reverse the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, a medication that can terminate an early pregnancy. The Trump-appointed judge hearing the case, Matthew Kacsmaryk, attempted to schedule a hearing over the case, but wanted it a secret.
Such an action is extremely uncommon. This afternoon, Kacsmaryk did formally schedule a hearing for later this week. Legal scholars that the Signal spoke with cautioned about the judge’s actual power to take mifepristone off the market with just a single ruling. Still, the very existence of the case is frightening.
It’s also quite clear that for many Republicans in Texas, three abortion bans aren’t enough. They want more.