Lawsuit challenging Texas abortion bans appears before state Supreme Court


(AUSTIN, Texas) — The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Tuesday in an ongoing lawsuit filed by women against the state over its multiple abortion bans. The suit, first filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights in March, was filed by women who say their lives were put in danger due to the state’s multiple bans.

Texas has several abortion laws in place prohibiting nearly all abortions, except in medical emergencies, which the laws do not define. Women filing the lawsuit say they were denied care despite having dangerous pregnancy complications. One of the bans — called SB 8 — prohibits abortions after cardiac activity is detected, which generally occurs at around six weeks of pregnancy, keeping several plaintiffs from accessing care despite their pregnancies being nonviable, according to the suit.

The state Supreme Court will decide whether a partial block of Texas’ abortion bans — which would allow abortions to resume in cases of medical emergencies and fatal fetal diagnoses while litigation continues — can go into effect.

After hearing emotional testimony from some of the women filing the suit, a lower court judge issued a ruling in August temporarily blocking the implementation of abortion bans in cases of medical emergencies and fatal fetal anomalies while the lawsuit continues. That ruling was quickly put on hold when state prosecutors filed an appeal.

The Texas Supreme Court will also issue a decision on state prosecutors’ request to throw out the case entirely. Judge Jessica Mangrum, the lower court judge who issued the injunction, had denied the state’s request to throw out the case.

If the Texas Supreme Court denies the state’s request to dismiss the case — in whole or in part — then the suit will return to district court for litigation.

“There is the possibility that the Texas Supreme Court will side with the state and rule that the only relief pregnant people in Texas have is to go ask their Texas legislators for a change. In that case, it wouldn’t return [the case to district court] and we have to pursue other avenues,” Nick Kabat, staff attorney with the CRR, told ABC News earlier this month.

This lawsuit, filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, was first filed by five women in March. More women have since been added to the lawsuit. Of the 22 plaintiffs, 20 are women who say they have been impacted by the bans, and two others are physicians suing on behalf of themselves and their patients.

The lawsuit is asking the court to temporarily and permanently block Texas’ abortion bans due to uncertainty surrounding the meaning of the exceptions to the laws.

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