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Texas Supreme Court Blocks Order That Resumed Abortions

Just days after some physicians started seeing patients after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the Texas Supreme Court halted a lower court ruling late on Friday night that declared clinics may restart conducting abortions.

It was unclear right after if Texas clinics that had started seeing patients again this week would restart their suspension of operations. This month’s hearing is expected to take place later.

The chaos and frantic activity occurring nationwide since Roe was reversed was exemplified by Texas facilities turning away patients, postponing them, and now perhaps canceling appointments once again, all within the space of a week.

Some clinics were confident they could temporarily restart abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy after a Houston judge’s decision earlier this week. The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton then requested that the state’s highest court, which is comprised of nine Republican judges, temporarily halt the order.

After the U.S. banned abortions, clinics in Texas’ almost 30 million-person state stopped offering abortion services. The Supreme Court terminated the constitutional right to an abortion last week by overturning Roe v. Wade. While Roe was in effect, Texas technically continued to have an abortion ban on the books for the previous 50 years.

Attorneys for Texas clinics have given me a copy of Friday’s order. On the court’s website, it was not readily accessible.

Across the nation, patients and abortion providers have had difficulty navigating the changing legal environment surrounding abortion access and restrictions.

The day after a judge declared it to be against the state constitution and announced he would sign an order temporarily suspending the bill next week, a Florida law outlawing abortions beyond 15 weeks went into effect. The South, where Florida has greater access to the practice than its neighbors, may be more affected by the restriction.

In Kentucky, abortion rights have fluctuated over the course of a few days. A judge suspended the legislation on Thursday, allowing the state’s only two abortion clinics to resume treating patients – for the time being. Last Friday, a so-called trigger law that effectively outlawed the surgery completely went into effect.

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