Updated Jun 28, 2022 - Health

Abortions can continue in Texas after judge temporarily blocks pre-Roe ban

Picture of an abortion rights rally in Texas
Protesters march in the street during an abortion rights rally on June 25 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A Harris County judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a pre-Roe abortion ban in Texas that was being enforced while the state's "trigger" law is yet to take effect.

Driving the news: Abortion providers had sued state officials to stop the pre-Roe ban from taking effect, arguing it had previously been declared unconstitutional. With this temporary restraining order, abortions can continue in Texas up until the sixth week of pregnancy.

  • Texas' trigger law is scheduled to take effect later this summer, after the Supreme Court's judgment is officially issued, which is a separate order typically released at least 25 days or longer after the court's opinion.

Catch up fast: Following the high court's overturning of Roe, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an advisory saying that "abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today” based on the state’s “abortion prohibitions predating Roe."

Details: The providers said in their lawsuit that the pre-Roe ban, which was issued in 1925, "was expressly declared unconstitutional ... and has been absent from Texas' civil statutes for decades."

  • Under the 1925 law, providers could face up to five years in prison for performing an abortion.
  • The law's only exception was to save the pregnant person's life.

What they're saying: "It is a relief that this Texas state court acted so quickly to block this deeply harmful abortion ban," said Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights organization representing the providers in the case.

  • "This decision will allow abortion services to resume at many clinics across the state, connecting Texans to the essential health care they need. Every hour that abortion is accessible in Texas is a victory," Hearron added.

Go deeper: Nearly all abortions are illegal in 8 states but more bans are coming

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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