Texas Supreme Court Denies Planned Parenthood Request to Resume Abortion Law Challenge

Texas Supreme Court Denies Planned Parenthood Request to Resume Abortion Law Challenge woman holds pink sign outside texas state capitol (Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 05 October 2021 12:52 PM

The Texas Supreme Court on Monday denied Planned Parenthood's request to resume its lawsuit that challenges the state's near-total abortion ban, The Texas Tribune reported.

Planned Parenthood asked the court last week to overturn a litigation panel's decision to indefinitely pause the suit alongside 13 other lawsuits filed in Travis County district court, the Tribune reported.

The Texas Multidistrict Litigation Panel of five judges stopped the cases from continuing at the request of Texas Right to Life, an organization that helped draft the state’s abortion restrictions.

Planned Parenthood had filed suit to declare the abortion law, which bans the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, unconstitutional.

The organization said a hearing had been scheduled for this month before the litigation panel of Republican judges paused proceedings.

Texas Right to Life was blocked from being able to sue Planned Parenthood for potential violations of the abortion law during the pause.

"The Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to remain in effect is extremely disappointing and will likely deprive Planned Parenthood of its day in court, once again," Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for public policy litigation and law, said in a statement, the Tribune said.

An attorney who represents plaintiffs for the other 13 lawsuits blocked said Monday’s ruling was a temporary setback in fighting against the law commonly known as Senate Bill 8.

"We’ll present our arguments and the defendants will ultimately have to attempt to defend SB8 on the merits," attorney Elizabeth Myers said.

"That is something the defendants are obviously scared and unwilling to do, so it’s not surprising that they continue to try to delay it. At some point, their delay tactics will no longer work and our clients look forward to that day."

Abortion providers, women’s rights groups, doctors, and the Biden administration. are battling to overturn the law in federal courts.

The Tribune reported that a federal appeals court was set to hold a hearing in December in one lawsuit aimed at overturning the abortion restrictions.

A federal judge also was expected to issue an order soon on whether to temporarily block enforcement of Texas’ abortion law as part of a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit.

The Biden administration on Monday reversed former President Donald Trump’s order that disallowed family-planning clinics from receiving federal funding if they provide abortion referrals.

Texas’ near-total abortion ban went into effect Sept. 1. Experts estimate more than 85% of abortions have ceased, and some abortion clinics have stopped offering the procedure.