AUSTIN (AP) – A federal judge on Thursday blocked Texas from enforcing new anti-abortion measures Gov. Greg Abbott signed in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down more sweeping abortion limits.
The temporary injunction issued by Austin-based U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel stops Texas from banning a commonly used second trimester abortion procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, which abortion providers say rarely results in complications. Courts already have blocked similar laws in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. A court challenge also is ongoing in Arkansas.
The Texas version was approved by state lawmakers, signed by Abbott in May and had been set to take effect Friday. Texas is expected to appeal.
The ban is part of a broader measure, Senate Bill 8, that effectively served as the state’s answer to last year’s Supreme Court ruling. That decision, the court’s most significant abortion-rights ruling in a generation, tossed out a 2013 Texas law that led to the closure of more than half the state’s abortion clinics.
Those now-dismantled requirements had required Texas abortion clinics to meet hospital-like operating standards and required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals.
Texas currently has around 20 abortion clinics, down from 41 in 2012.
The new Texas law uses the non-medical term “dismemberment abortion” to describe a procedure in which forceps and other instruments are used to remove the fetus from the womb. The Center for Reproductive Rights says it is the safest and most common way of terminating a second-trimester pregnancy.
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