Texas Supreme Court Blocks Woman from Having Emergency Abortion
A woman in Texas who was denied an emergency abortion after her fetus had severe abnormalities has won a legal victory against the state’s ban on most abortions. The Texas supreme court ruled on Tuesday that the woman, identified as Jane Doe, was entitled to a medically necessary abortion under the state’s law.
What happened to Jane Doe?
Jane Doe, who was 18 weeks pregnant when she sought an abortion at a clinic in Austin, Texas, learned that her fetus had only one kidney, severe scoliosis, a partially formed umbilical cord and improperly positioned hands and feet. The fetus also had an under-developed brain. Jane Doe’s pregnancy was at risk of ending before she ever gave birth. If Jane Doe did give birth, her baby would likely die from respiratory failure shortly afterward.
Jane Doe’s doctor recommended that she have an abortion to avoid further complications for her health and the health of her baby. However, the clinic informed her that they were unable to perform an abortion because of the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which took effect on September 1, 2021.
Jane Doe then contacted another clinic in New Mexico, which agreed to perform an abortion for her. She traveled to New Mexico and had the procedure on October 2, 2021. She returned to Texas and told everyone that she had had a miscarriage.
How did Jane Doe challenge the state’s ban?
Jane Doe decided to sue the state of Texas for violating her constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy by denying her an emergency abortion. She joined forces with 19 other women who also faced similar situations after being denied abortions under the state’s ban. They also sued two doctors who refused to perform abortions for them because of the law.
The women argued that their pregnancies were not viable and that they needed abortions to save their lives or prevent serious harm. They also argued that the state’s law was vague and arbitrary in defining what constitutes a medical emergency and what constitutes a fetal anomaly.
The women filed their lawsuit in federal court in September 2021. They asked for a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the state’s law until their case is resolved.
What did the Texas supreme court decide?
On Tuesday, November 28, 2023, the Texas supreme court granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Jane Doe and the other women. The court ruled that their lawsuits were likely to succeed on their merits and that they faced irreparable harm if they were not allowed to have abortions immediately.
The court said that its decision was based on its interpretation of federal law and its respect for individual rights under the U.S. Constitution. The court said that it recognized that abortion is a complex and sensitive issue that involves medical judgment and personal circumstances.
The court said that it did not intend to overturn or invalidate any existing laws or regulations regarding abortion or fetal life. The court said that it only wanted to clarify how its own law should be applied in cases where there is an urgent need for an abortion due to serious health risks for either or both parties.
The court said that its decision did not affect any other pending or future cases involving abortion or fetal life under its jurisdiction.
The court ordered both sides to submit written briefs explaining how they will comply with its order within 14 days.