DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel has filed a lawsuit and a request for a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the September 1 enactment of Senate Bill 8, also known as the “Texas Heartbeat Bill.”

The suit, filed in a Dallas Texas District Court, argues that if any client seeks legal advice on abortion, the bill attempts to block attorneys from performing their duty to provide that advice.

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As plaintiff in the suit, Tuegel argues that the bill, which targets anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion” intrudes on attorney-client privilege, and even extends to survivors of sexual assault, as the bill makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

“This bill is yet another desperate attempt by the state of Texas to undermine a woman’s right to choose — this time by dismantling her legal support system,” said Tuegel.

The central question the lawsuit poses, Simpson Tuegel explained, is not whether abortion should exist, but whether an attorney should be permitted to give advice about state laws to their clients.

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The suit says SB8 has “created a framework that pits attorneys against their own clients” by invading the space of attorney-client privilege and confidentiality by creating civil liability of least $10,000 for anyone who provides assistance to a woman in need of an abortion.

It was on May 19 when Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law, banning most abortions in the state as early as six weeks and allowing almost any American citizen to sue state abortion providers.

The law, that prohibits abortions after the detection of a heartbeat, is being called the nation’s strongest pro-life legislation. It bans abortions before many women even know they are pregnant and includes pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest. There is a limited exception for medical emergencies.

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Texas law currently bans abortion after 20 weeks, with exceptions for a woman with a life-threatening medical condition or if the fetus has a severe abnormality. More than 90% of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CBSDFW.com Staff