The Texas Supreme Court on Saturday blocked a lower court’s ruling that had handed a momentary victory to the state’s abortion law challengers. The state’s highest court granted Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to stay a lower court order that had temporarily blocked a strict abortion law from going into effect.
“Thanks to my appeal, SCOTX has slapped down the abortion providers and the district court carrying their water,” he said in a tweet. “Our state’s pre-Roe statutes banning abortion in Texas are 100% good law.”
“Litigation continues, but I’ll keep winning for Texas’s unborn babies,” he added.
The Texas lower court had ruled in favor of Whole Women’s Health, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, and a number of abortion providers. Attorney General Paxton had filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court on June 30.
“The Texas Legislature has never repealed the State’s longstanding criminal laws that prohibit abortion, unless necessary to save the life of the mother,” AG Paxton stated in a release. “The United States Supreme Court’s erroneous decision in Roe v. Wade prevented Texas from enforcing these laws for many decades. But lack of enforcement does not remove the provisions from Texas law.”
“Now that the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, Texas law against abortion can be enforced,” he added. “Because the plaintiff abortion clinics intend to immediately begin performing criminal abortions under cover of the temporary restraining order—and some may have already done so—the Attorney General sought emergency relief from the Texas Supreme Court.”
“The trial court was wrong to enjoin enforcement of Texas’s longstanding prohibitions on elective abortion,” Attorney General Paxton remarked. “Let there be no mistake: the lower court’s unlawful order does not immunize criminal conduct, which can be punished at a later date once the temporary restraining order is lifted. My office will not hesitate to act in defense of unborn Texans put in jeopardy by plaintiffs’ wrongful actions and the trial court’s erroneous order.”
“Texas requested an immediate stay of the temporary restraining order,” Paxton further explained. “Evidently undeterred by future criminal punishment and civil liability, the plaintiff abortion clinics say that they intend to violate Texas law under cover of the temporary restraining order. Once an abortion occurs, nothing can restore the unborn child’s life; prosecuting the abortionist later is no substitute.
“That irreparable loss necessitates th[e] Court’s immediate action,” the petition added.
This is a temporary victory in the courts for supporters of Texas’ strict abortion law. But the legal fights will continue on.
A hearing is scheduled for July 12, according to the New York Times.