A Texas judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against the state’s largest anti-abortion group, preventing it from suing Planned Parenthood and imposing a six-week abortion ban that went into effect this week.
Planned Parenthood will still have to comply with the new law, but it cannot be sued by the group, Texas Right to Life, or its associates, according to the order of Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Travis County, which includes Austin.
Judge Gamble found that the bill, Senate Bill 8, created “probable, irreparable and imminent injury,” at least temporarily, to Planned Parenthood, its staff and its patients, all of whom “would have no adequate remedy” if sued by the Texas Right to Life of anyone associated with the group.
The warrant’s scope is limited and does not prevent other anti-abortion groups from suing or anyone not affiliated with Texas Right to Life Planned Parenthood. It expires on September 17.
But while it’s “not enough relief for Texas,” the order protects Planned Parenthood staff and its caregivers, who have “continued to provide care to the best of their ability within the law while facing surveillance, harassment, and threats from vigilantes eager to stop them,” Helene Krasnoff, the vice president for public policy and law at Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.
“We are relieved that the Travis County Court has acted swiftly to grant this restraining order to the Texas Right to Life and anyone who works with them as deputy enforcers of this draconian law,” said Ms. Krasnoff.
In a statement, Elizabeth Graham, the vice president of Texas Right to Life, said the lawsuit and injunction would not stop the organization’s work.
“Planned Parenthood may continue to sue us, but the Texas Right to Life will never shy away from protecting pregnant women and unborn children from abortion,” said Ms. Graham.
John Seago, the group’s legislative director, said the restraining order was not a serious obstacle to the future of the law, which took effect Wednesday after the US Supreme Court refused to block the law. “This has been the danger of the state cause all along, that it would be used as a flag to wave as if the abortion industry is winning when in fact they are losing,” he said.
The new law, passed by Texas lawmakers this spring and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in May, amounts to an almost complete ban on abortion, as most women don’t know they’re pregnant until after the sixth week of pregnancy. to be. In Texas, 85 to 90 percent of abortions occur after the sixth week, according to attorneys at several clinics.
The law, which provides no exceptions for rape or incest, prohibits state officials from enforcing it and instead substitutes private citizens to charge anyone who performs or “aids or instigates” an abortion in violation of the law.
Texas Right to Life had already created a website, Prolifewhistleblower.com, as a tip line for lawbreakers. But activists on TikTok snapped the site with fabricated information.
Judge Gamble said Friday night’s decision upheld the Texas Supreme Court’s precedent, writing that “the primary consideration for temporary relief is to maintain the status quo, while courts consider whether plaintiffs have demonstrated a likely right to the aid sought.” .”