Richter shields several abortion clinics in Texas from the group’s suits
Austin, Texas – A judge temporarily protected some abortion clinics in Texas from being sued by the state’s largest anti-abortion group under a new law banning most abortions.
The injunction was issued Friday by Austin District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in response to a proposed parenting motion. Specifically, while the law remains in effect, the judge’s order protects Planned Parenthood’s clinics from whistleblower lawsuits by the Texas Right to Life nonprofit group, its legislative director, and individuals affiliated with the group.
A hearing on an application for an injunction is scheduled for September 13th. The injunction only protects planned parenting clinics from Texas Right to Life litigation and does not prevent Texas Right to Life from suing unplanned parenting clinics in the state. It also doesn’t stop people unrelated to Texas Right to Life from suing Planned Parenthood.
The law, which went into effect Wednesday, bans abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks gestation and before some women realize they are pregnant. The law also leaves enforcement to private individuals through lawsuits and not to prosecutors through criminal charges.
If Planned Parenthood is ultimately successful in the case, it could become a model for other abortion providers to initiate similar “interim cases” against those who are likely to sue them for alleged violations of the law, said David Coale, a Dallas appellate attorney who is not in the Is involved in litigation but has watched it unfold.
Planned Parenthood said in a statement Friday that the law “is already decimating access to abortion in the state by forcing providers to turn away people” as soon as medical professionals can detect cardiac activity. It is said that 85 to 90 percent of women who have had abortions in Texas have been at least six weeks pregnant in the past.
In its petition filed late Thursday, Planned Parenthood said that even if the lawsuits prevailed against the group for alleged violations of the law in any case, they would achieve the law’s goal of “harassing abortion providers and others who work for a patient’s support network are critical. “The group also said fighting the lawsuits could bankrupt those who are sued, as the law does not allow them to reclaim attorney fees and expenses if they win.”
Texas Right to Life Vice President Elizabeth Graham said in a statement that her group expects the Planned Parenthood lawsuit to be dismissed and that “until then, we will continue our diligent efforts to ensure that the abortion industry is fully new Law follows ”.
The law came into force on Wednesday. The Supreme Court then allowed it to stay in effect by voting 5: 4 to reject an urgency complaint from abortion providers.
Coale said the case in which the judge issued the injunction on Friday centered on the question of “irreparable injury” – whether abortion providers would be overwhelmed by the cost of defending against a potential flurry of lawsuits before higher courts could step in Legality of the Articles of Association.
Texas Right to Life created a website to get public advice on violations. However, the website was unavailable on Saturday after its host told GoDaddy it violated the company’s terms of service, including a provision against collecting identifying information about someone without their consent. A Texas Right to Life spokeswoman said Friday that the group is moving its website to a different provider and expects it to be up and running within two days.
The website, which inspired social media activists to encourage people to flood them with misinformation, had not received any credible evidence of alleged violations as of Friday, said Rebecca Parma, senior legislative officer at Texas Right to Life.
She said abortion providers appeared to “obey the law, and that is, first and foremost, the point of the law.”
Associated Press Writer Barbara Ortutay contributed to this report from Oakland, California.
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