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Texas Clinics Halt Abortions After State High Court Ruling


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Clinics were shutting down abortion services within the nation’s second-largest state Saturday after the Texas Supreme Court blocked an order briefly allowing the procedure to resume in some cases, the most recent in legal scrambles going down across the U.S. following the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions as much as six weeks into pregnancy. The next day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said the ruling forced an end to abortions in its 4 Texas clinics, and staff there have been winding down abortion operations and having “heartbreaking conversations” with women whose appointments were canceled.

“I ache for us and for the people we have now dedicated our lives to serve with the fabulous abortion care we offer, many who shall be denied that right within the months and possibly years to come back,” Hagstrom Miller said in a press release.

Planned Parenthood’s multiple affiliates in Texas had not resumed abortion services even after the restraining order was put in place Tuesday.

At issue was a long-dormant 1925 criminal law that targets individuals who perform abortions. Clinics had argued that it was invalid after abortion became a constitutional right across the U.S. in 1973. The U.S. Supreme Court, nonetheless, struck down the landmark Roe decision June 24, leaving abortion policy to states.

“Pro-life victory! … Litigation continues, but I’ll keep winning for Texas’s unborn babies,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who had asked the state Supreme Court to intervene.

Individually, Texas has a 2021 law that was designed to ban abortion within the event that Roe were overturned. It takes effect within the weeks ahead.

“Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, irrespective of how devastating the results,” said Julia Kaye of the ACLU.

Demonstrators gather on the federal courthouse following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, June 24, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Providers and patients across the country have been struggling to navigate the evolving legal landscape around abortion laws and access.

In Florida, a law banning abortions after 15 weeks went into effect Friday, the day after a judge called it a violation of the state structure and said he would sign an order temporarily blocking it next week. The ban could have broader implications within the South, as Florida currently allows greater access to the procedure than neighboring states.

Even when women travel outside states with abortion bans, they could have fewer options to finish their pregnancies because the prospect of prosecution follows them.

Planned Parenthood of Montana this week stopped providing medication abortions to patients who live in states with bans.

Planned Parenthood North Central States, which offers the procedure in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, is telling patients they need to take each pills within the regimen while in a state that enables abortion.

Using pills has been probably the most common method to finish a pregnancy since 2000, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, the major drug utilized in medication abortions. Taken with misoprostol, a drug that causes cramping that empties the womb, it constitutes the abortion pill.

Also Friday, Google, the corporate behind the web’s dominant search engine and the Android software that powers most smartphones, said it could mechanically purge details about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that would trigger potential legal problems.

Along with abortion clinics, Google cited counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight reduction clinics and cosmetic surgery clinics as destinations that shall be erased from location histories. Users have all the time had the choice to edit their location histories on their very own, but now Google will do it for them as an added level of protection.

“We’re committed to delivering robust privacy protections for individuals who use our products, and we’ll proceed to look for brand new ways to strengthen and improve these protections,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice chairman, wrote in a blog post.

White reported from Detroit.

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