Texas lawmakers are heading back to court Tuesday for a hearing in Austin aimed at reversing a lawsuit blocking a ban on second trimester abortions.
Pro-abortion and pro-life sides will both have 90 minutes to present their arguments to the judge before a final decision, according to the Austin-American Statesman. No witnesses are permitted in the courtroom.
The hearing comes after Texas courts signed a ban on dismemberment abortions into law in May. Texas abortion providers filed a retaliatory lawsuit in July, claiming that the new restrictions put an unconstitutional limit on abortion access by banning “dilation and evacuation.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawyers are heading back to court to ask U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel to allow the measure to take effect Sept. 1 because the state has a right to stop “brutal, gruesome and inhumane practice[s],” according to the Statesman.
“Dismemberment abortions are a gruesome and inhumane method of ending human life. Senate Bill 8 protects the dignity and sanctity of life, along with the integrity of the medical profession,” Paxton said. “Prohibiting this inhumane procedure does not impose any significant health risks or burdens on women.”
Paxton’s lawyers added that the pro-abortion groups in charge of filing the suit — including Whole Woman’s Health and Planned Parenthood — should not receive federal funds for “emergency relief” because more than six weeks passed after the initial regulations were written into law before the lawsuit was filed July 20.
The Tuesday court hearing comes after Texas passed House Bill 214 in mid-August, ensuring that no taxpayers in the state would have to pay for general abortions any longer. Insurance companies would still cover emergency abortions for cases in which the mother’s life was at risk. (RELATED: Texas Bans Insurance Companies From Covering General Abortions).
The hearing also follows the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that Texas abortion regulations constituted an undue burden on a woman’s right to access abortion services. “Both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center requirements … constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution,” the decision read. (RELATED: SCOTUS Axes Texas Abortion Law).
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