Texas Judge Strikes Down Ban on Common Abortion Procedure

It’s not often that we get good news on abortion rights coming out of Texas, but it looks like this time we’ve got something to be thankful for. On Wednesday, a federal district judge in Texas struck down a ban on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure, handing abortion rights activists and all Texas women a much-needed win.

In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law, effectively outlawing abortion after thirteen weeks by banning a procedure known as dilation and evacuation, or “D&E.” A temporary injunction blocked the bill the day before it was scheduled to take effect in September.

The new law would have required abortion providers to first end the fetus’ life before doing a D&E, a safe and effective procedure. Banning this procedure would leave women with far worse and more invasive alternatives, like going through labor to deliver the fetus or having a procedure similar to a hysterectomy.

Requiring abortion providers end a fetus’s life before the procedure would force women to undergo “unnecessary invasive, and potentially painful medical procedures, in order to access their constitutional right to an abortion,” according to the abortion providers.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the bill. After a five-day trial, judge Lee Yeakel ruled in favor of the women’s health centers and struck down the ban on the day the temporary injunction was set to expire.

“The court concludes that requiring a woman to undergo an unwanted, risky, invasive, and experimental procedure in exchange for exercising her right to choose an abortion, substantially burdens that right,” wrote Yeakel. “The State’s valid interest in promoting respect for the life of the unborn, although legitimate, is not sufficient to justify such a substantial obstacle to the constitutionally protected right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability.”

Seven other states have passed laws banning D&E procedures and courts in four of them have blocked those bans, just like Texas. The bans in Mississippi and West Virginia, though, have gone unchallenged.

Judge Yeakel also acknowledged the specific burden such a law would place on low-income women who may not be able to afford the time away from work or additional childcare costs that may be incurred due to laws requiring fetal demise.

“The court is unaware of any other medical context that requires a doctor in contravention of the doctor’s medical judgment and the best interest of the patient to conduct a medical procedure that delivers no benefit to the woman,” said Yeakel.

Women in Texas finally have a reason to celebrate a reproductive rights success in a state determined to take those rights away.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

47 comments

Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Freya H
Freya H1 months ago

Amanda M and Nicole H, SHOUT IT FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP! Robert F, you are unfortunately right. Your comment reminds me of a poster from World War II showing a hand strangling a snake that obviously represented Japan and bearing the caption "No time to let loose! It's a fight to the finish!" We are far, far from the finish of strangling the anti-choice serpent.

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pam w
pam w1 months ago

WOW! In Texas? How about that?

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Amanda M
Amanda M1 months ago

Score one for women's rights and SCIENTIFIC FACT. Far too many of the anti-choicers' arguments are based on religious myth. Science should trump religion every time. It's a SCIENTIFIC FACT that fetuses cannot feel pain until the THIRD trimester when conscious brain function (including our sensory capacity) comes on-line. It's a SCIENTIFIC FACT that this common abortion procedure causes less trauma and risk of injury to the woman than the other methods such as forced-labor and hysterotomy. It's a SCIENTIFIC FACT that abortion does NOT cause cancer. It's a SCIENTIFIC FACT that abortion is far less dangerous to a woman than pregnancy and childbirth, especially if she has pre-existing medical conditions. Shall I go on? I could, but the pro-choicers already know this, but sadly the anti-choicers suffer from a combination of willful ignorance and cranium rectumitis, yet they insist on their religious bilge trumping real education in schools and society at large! Fortunately, the tide is (hopefully) starting to turn.

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Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

Thanks.

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx1 months ago

Well Judge Yeakel apparently got himself well informed by gynecologists and then made the right decision. Why making things already painful and difficult even more painful and difficult. And for all those who swear by the bible, the only one who will judge our acts is God. Not you, or you, or you !! I agree fully with Dot A. : When a child IS wanted, IS loved and IS properly cared for AND there is no medical contra indication for having a healthy baby, then the situation would be different. But as already explained in the previous article, you can not compare the today's situation with that of 2,000 years ago. Now,NEARLY all premature babies, healthy or not, survive due to all medical equipment and medication we have. 2,000 years ago, a premature or unhealthy born baby did NOT survive! That's a big difference !! And what would you do when your 15/16 year old daughter was raped and got pregnant. Would you destroy her future by having this child ? No high school, no university... get a job as soon as possible, and have a life in poverty and misery because of listening to some people who think to be above GOD !! No, thank you !! Oh yes, I forgot about adoption. You know how many "mothers" who listened to the religious "advice" and had her newborn adopted, have regrets for the rest of their life ?? And keep on wondering what became of him/her....

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Winn A
Winn A1 months ago

:-)

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Janis K
Janis K1 months ago

Good news!

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Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine Andersen1 months ago

Wow, good news indeed. Thanks for sharing.

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Elaine W
Elaine W1 months ago

In Texas?! Amazing good news.

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