Aug 19, 2021 - Health

Texas ban on second-trimester abortion procedure upheld by appeals court

Texas abortion advocates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Texas can ban the most common procedure used by doctors for abortions in second-trimester pregnancies, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Why it matters: The ruling in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals marks the first time a U.S. federal court has upheld a ban on dilation and evacuation, the standard method of abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ban is expected to be challenged in the Supreme Court, per the Texas Tribune.

  • Texas would be the first state in the U.S. to impose such a ban on the D&E method if it is permitted to proceed.

Driving the news: The ruling overturns a decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit last October, which sided with abortion rights advocates in backing a 2017 lower court decision to strike down the Texas law as unconstitutional, temporarily blocking its enforcement.

  • "Under the newly reinstated law, D&E abortions are forbidden unless the physician first performs a separate, additional procedure in the woman's body to bring about the demise of the fetus," Reuters notes.

What they're saying: Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman's Health and a plaintiff in the case, said in an emailed statement that the ban is "about cutting off abortion access, and nothing else."

  • "It should never be a crime for doctors to use their best medical judgment and follow the most current science. Texans deserve the best care available, and this law prevents that," Hagstrom Miller added.

Of note: Another law that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law in May that bans abortions as early as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant is due to take effect on Sept. 1.

  • This too is being challenged in court.
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