Dec 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas judge: Citizen enforcement of abortion law unconstitutional

 Pro-abortion rights protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, Texas.

Pro-abortion rights protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol in Austin in September. Photo: Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty Images

A Texas law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy violates the state's constitution as it permits private citizens to sue abortion providers, a judge ruled Thursday.

Why it matters: State District Court Judge David Peeples' ruling, which doesn't stop the strict law from being enforced, comes ahead of an expected U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Texas legislation.

The big picture: Peeples' ruling only concerned the 14 lawsuits he was overseeing. It doesn't include an injunction so wouldn't stop litigation against doctors or others accused of "aiding or abetting" abortions.

  • Frontera Fund, one of the abortion-rights groups challenging the law, known as Senate Bill 8, in a statement called the judge's decision "a small win," but noted S.B. 8 was still in effect. Abortion providers have indicated they won't resume services because of this.

What's next: Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group that had campaigned for the law, vowed in a statement to appeal Peebles' ruling.

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