Texas Supreme Court denies request to litigate against six-week abortion ban

by | Oct 5, 2021 | News, Reproductive Health

On Monday, the Texas Supreme Court denied Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Health Services and others request for a partial lift to continue litigation in other trial court proceedings. This is just the latest in the ongoing legal battle on Senate Bill 8, Texas’s six-week abortion ban. 

According to court documents, Planned Parenthood was requesting to partially lift the stay so that the Travis County trial Court can conduct a temporary injunction hearing before October 11, 2021 or partially lift the stay to allow the Travis County trial Court to extend the temporary restraining orders until at least seven days after the stay is fully lifted. Or immediately rule on the state of Texas’ motion to transfer to a multi-district litigation. 

With this denial, a summary judgement hearing scheduled for Oct. 13 will likely not happen, according to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  

“The Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to remain in effect is extremely disappointing and will likely deprive Planned Parenthood of its day in court, once again,” Vice-President for the public policy litigation and law at Planned Parenthood Federation of America Helene Krasnoff said in a statement. 

“Texas Right to Life and others who have championed this cruel and unconstitutional law have for more than 30 days now used every procedural trick possible to deprive millions of Texans of their constitutional right to abortion. This must stop. The courts must protect Texans’ right to access safe, legal abortion, and Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for our patients in all possible venues.”

At the same time, this recent court ruling comes after a federal district preliminary injunction hearing on Oct.1 where the United States Department of Justice argued against Texas on the ban. 

According to reports, the DOJ argued that the Supreme Court of the United States precedent on abortion is clear and the federal government has the duty to challenge state laws if they are deemed unconstitutional. Moreover, the DOJ also argued that the new law violates the duties of some federal agencies who are supposed to protect citizens who are using government services. 

For example, in the initial court filing, the DOJ said the new law stops access to abortion care under programs like United States Marshals Service, the Department of Labor Job Corps, and Center for Medicare and Medicaid services. 

In response, the state argued that Texas does not have any interest in enforcing SB 8. Even though, in the bill, private citizens are awarded a $10,000 bounty if successful in court. Nevertheless, the state said SB 8 is just like any other law and argued that the DOJ doesn’t have standing to sue. Furthermore, the state also said the six-week ban isn’t a ban, but a regulation. 

In the end, Judge Robert Pitman thanked both parties for their arguments and took it under advisement. 

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Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.

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