For the second time in two days, Republican lawmakers in Texas have been handed a legal defeat. The first, an injunction against the state’s sanctuary city ban, was followed by another injunction against the state’s new anti-abortion law that effectively prohibits second-trimester abortions.
On Thursday, U.S District Judge Lee Yeakel temporarily halted the law, Senate Bill 8, from going into effect on Friday. SB 8, as The Dallas Observer noted, is several anti-abortion provisions rolled into one horrible law:
It’s a ban on fetal tissue donation. It requires all tissue obtained during an abortion to be buried or cremated, and it bans dilation and evacuation, the safest and most common procedure for performing second-trimester abortions — without exceptions for rape or incest.
In his decision, Yeakel ruled that the state’s ban on dilation and evacuation would prevent plaintiffs from accessing the most commonly used abortion procedure without reviewing whether the law was constitutional. “It is in the public interest to preserve the status quo and give the parties ample opportunity to develop the record regarding the constitutional questions raised without subjecting plaintiffs or the public to any of the act’s potential harms,” Yaekel wrote.
SB 8, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in May, was the state’s response to the Supreme Court decision that struck down its previous attempt to restrict reproductive rights. Laws similar to SB 8 have already been blocked by federal judges in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
Planned Parenthood, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said Yaekel’s decision would protect access to the procedure and described the law as a “dangerous” attempt to ban abortion incrementally. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton predictably announced that the state would appeal Yaekel’s ruling.