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Whole Woman's Health v. Paxton

Location: Texas
Last Update: September 27, 2022

What's at Stake

On June 24, 2022, abortion provision in Texas entirely stopped due to confusion over whether the state’s century-old criminal abortion ban could be enforced after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the federal constitutional right to abortion and 50 years of precedent. On June 27, 2022, abortion providers in Texas filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to block officials from enforcing the state’s antiquated pre-Roe abortion ban. If successful, the lawsuit would restore early abortion access in Texas for two months or longer.

Summary

On June 24th, within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Texas attorney general put out an advisory stating that the state’s “trigger ban,” which bans virtually all abortion, will not take effect for approximately two months or longer. The trigger ban is scheduled to take effect 30 days after issuance of the judgment from the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. While the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs on June 24, 2022, it has not yet issued its judgment, which is a separate order typically issued at least 25 days or longer after the opinion. However, in that same advisory, the Texas attorney general said that “abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today” based on the state’s “abortion prohibitions predating Roe.”

On June 27, 2022, abortion providers in Texas filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to block officials from enforcing the state’s antiquated pre-Roe abortion ban, which once banned abortion entirely but has been interpreted to be repealed and unenforceable. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion was available in Texas up to six weeks of pregnancy.

On June 28th, 2022, the Harris County district court granted a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining enforcement of the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban. The State has since filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus and an Emergency Motion for Temporary Relief in the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Appeals for the First Judicial District of Houston, Texas, asking both to block the lower court’s order. On July 1, 2022, the Supreme Court of Texas granted the state’s emergency motion in part and asked for supplemental briefing, and on July 12, 2022, the Court of Appeals denied the State’s mandamus petition.

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, Morrison & Foerster, LLP, and Hayward PLLC on behalf of Whole Woman’s Health, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, Austin Women’s Health Center, Houston Women’s Clinic, Houston Women’s Reproductive Services, and Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center.

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