Federal Judge Temporarily Halts Law Banning Safest Type of Second-Trimester Abortion

Posted September 02, 2017

Advocates for the law say the second-trimester procedure - known as dilatation and evacuation - is cruel an inhumane, although abortion providers say the procedure is the safest for women in the second term of their pregnancy.

In his ruling, Yeakel wrote, "The act leaves that woman and her physician with abortion procedures that are more complex, risky, expensive, hard for many women to arrange, and often involve multi-day visits to physicians, and overnight hospital stays".

The ban on D&E procedures in the second trimester was part of a broader measure, SB 8, that also restricted abortion providers ability to donate fetal tissue to researchers.

Yekal said the court found "no authority for holding that government-mandated medically unnecessary, untested, or a more invasive procedure, or a more complicated and risky procedure with no proven medical benefits over the safe and commonly used banned procedure, is a permissible means of regulating previability abortions".

While some Pro-Lifers may be tempted to despair at today's ruling, this is the first step in a longer and consequential legal battle over this dynamic and historic legislation.

In a disappointing but not wholly unexpected ruling, a liberal Texas judge blocked a law Thursday that would protect unborn babies from dismemberment abortions.

Yeakel expects the state to appeal, and has set a September 14 hearing date to entertain further arguments from both sides on the merits of continuing or ending the injunction. CRR said the ban would inflict irreparable harm on women by blocking their constitutionally-protected right to an abortion and subject women to "medical experimentation" as the three alternatives to D&E pose greater risk, while the state offered little concrete evidence the law actually does anything to help women's safety instead relying on "respecting the life of the unborn", as an argument in lieu of protecting women's health.

Similar rules requiring the burial of fetal remains, adopted by the Texas Department of State Health Services in November, were blocked by a federal judge in January.

Founded in 1973, Texas Right to Life is the oldest and largest Pro-Life organization in Texas.

Paxton said the law protects the sanctity and dignity of human life.

The abortion clinic lawyers are attempting to frame this lawsuit on how SB 8 will affect Texas women and the abortion industry, however the important question before the court is whether this type of procedure is something Texas has the right to prohibit. "In filings and in court, the Attorney General's office powerfully argued SB 8 clearly only prohibits one specific type of D&E abortion, which the state Legislature defined as 'Dismemberment Abortions'".

U.S. Supreme Court ruling Gonzales v Carhart (2007) affirmed that states have a "compelling interest" in maintaining ethical medical practices and in protecting preborn children. Earlier this year, Arkansas enacted the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act joining Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.