Texas’ highly disputed abortion ban went into effect early Wednesday morning, uninhibited by any action from the Supreme Court.
Abortion providers had filed emergency requests to block the enforcement of the Heartbeat Act (S.B. 8), which bans abortions after the unborn baby‘s heartbeat can be detected. The Supreme Court did not intervene, though it still may do so.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2017 Texas law outlawing a second trimester abortion procedure called D&E (dilation and evacuation), or dismemberment.
In 2017, the Texas legislature passed the Texas Dismemberment Abortion Ban with bipartisan support, making D&Es a felony and banning them from being performed except in the case of an emergency. After the law passed and before it went into effect, Whole Women’s Health, several Planned Parenthood groups, several doctors, and others, sued in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
The district court ruled in their favor, blocking the law from going into effect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office appealed, and a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling last October.