The Texas Supreme Court late Friday night allowed a 1925 law banning abortion to go into effect, overturning a lower court ruling that temporarily blocked it.
The decision is the latest in a series of legal battles across the country following the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling, Roe v. Wade overturned the decision.
In Texas, the 1925 law, written before Roe, banning abortions and punishing those who perform them with possible prison terms, went into effect automatically, said Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general. Although not enforced after the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe, it remained on the books.
After abortion clinics sued for the ban, the ban was temporarily blocked by a Harris County judge, arguing that it was effectively overturned after the landmark Roe ruling.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Paxton called the stay a “victory for pro-life.” On that day Twitter.
“Our state’s pre-Roe laws banning abortion in Texas are 100% good law. “The case continues, but I will win for the unborn children of Texas,” he said.
A state Supreme Court ruling on Friday partially overturned a lower district court’s decision. Both sides will continue to argue their case regarding the old law in the district court on July 12. Lifting the freeze does not allow criminal enforcement of the ban, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a news release. The group represents abortion clinics in legal battles.
“Extremist politicians are engaged in a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences,” said Julia Kaye, an attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
Before Roe was overturned, a law passed last year in Texas allowed abortions only up to six weeks into pregnancy. When the Roe decision was overturned, a “trigger ban” was implemented, banning all abortions in Texas from the moment of conception, with rare exceptions including those to save the mother’s life. The law goes into effect at the end of July.
Texas is one of several states where abortion rights groups have quickly taken their campaign to the courts, seeking to block or delay the passage of abortion restrictions and bans. By Friday, they had won Utah, Kentucky, Louisiana and Florida.