On Friday, September 3, a Texas judge temporarily blocked an anti-abortion group from legally challenging Planned Parenthood following the state’s newly imposed Right to Life law.
In granting the restraining order, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Travis County said the medical provider was subjected to “probable, irreparable, and imminent injury” that could not be amended if anti-abortion groups target them following Texas’ newly taken into effect law.
On September 1, Senate Bill 8, or the Right to Life bill, became active despite outcry from abortion-rights advocates and abortion providers since the Supreme Court did not attempt anti action against it.
The measure would hinder nearly all abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, typically when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, unless in case of a medical emergency.
In terms of enforcement, it additionally allows private citizens to sue anyone who provides or “aids or abets” the women in violating the law.
Critics had argued that most women might not be aware of their pregnancy over the short span of six weeks, which is equivalent to 1.5 months, according to CNN.
The outlet reported that Planned Parenthood filed the request for the suspension on Thursday night, arguing that S.B. 8 was designed to make those subjected to such legal challenges “impossible to fairly defend against.”
Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s vice president for public policy litigation and law, celebrated the success.
“We are relieved that the Travis County district court has acted quickly to grant this restraining order against Texas Right to Life and anyone working with them as deputized enforcers of this draconian law.”
Responding to the ruling, Texas Right to Life director Elizabeth Graham vowed not to give up.
“Planned Parenthood can keep suing us, but Texas Right to Life will never back down from protecting pregnant women and preborn children from abortion,” Graham said.
The temporary restraining order is set to expire by September 17.
To discourage abortion services from bypassing the “heartbeat” law, the legislation has been designed to make it exceptionally costly for clinics that citizens may sue. And the person who may sue them could receive $10,000 in damages per case.
It further prevents clinics from recouping legal fees from their adversaries in court, even if the judges rule in their favor. Clinics are also prohibited from moving cases to locations that are more convenient for them unless their opponents agree.
Proponents of the law were hopeful that it could give unborn babies increased life chances, citing the significant number of abortions in Texas.
State records confirmed 56,600 abortions were performed in the Lone Star State solely in 2019.
When Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed the bill into law in May, he praised “our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion.”