AUSTIN, Texas — In a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a lower court injunction of Texas’ extreme abortion ban moments ago, meaning the law — SB 8 — will go back into effect immediately.
SB 8 bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before many know they’re pregnant, and incentivizes anyone — including abusive partners, estranged relatives, and complete strangers — to act as bounty hunters and take doctors, health centers, and anyone who helps another person access abortion to court. If successful, they could collect at least $10,000 for each abortion, paid by the person who is sued.
“This is a deeply alarming order that will allow Texas’ abortion ban to go back into effect at a time when abortion providers were quickly starting to resume abortion care for all patients,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Today’s order means that the havoc that this law has created is allowed to restart. Make no mistake: The devastating impacts of this ban will be just as bad this time around. We hope the case moves swiftly so the law can be halted again. We also need the Senate to quickly pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, a federal safeguard that has never been more urgent in light of the nightmare Texans now find themselves in and the grim future people in other states could soon face.”
“The Fifth Circuit has failed again to preserve a critical right that has long existed in the United States,” said Adriana Piñon, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas. “We’ve already seen the devastation caused by allowing this extremist law to exist for a few weeks. Texans are traveling hundreds of miles to access abortion care in overwhelmed clinics outside the state. People without the money to travel will be forced to continue with pregnancies they decided not to carry. That reality will especially impact communities of color. Black women have a maternal mortality rate three times that of white women, and this law will only make that worse. Abortion is critical health care, and no one should be denied safe and legal access to it.”