A federal judge temporarily banned Texas from enforcing restrictions on second trimester abortions set to take effect Friday.
U.S. District Judge Earl Lee Yeakel III passed the order, following similar recent bans on tightened abortion regulations in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, according to NBC News.
Yeakel said that the plaintiffs will “suffer irreparable harm by being unable to access the most commonly used and safest pre-viability second trimester abortion procedure ahead of any substantial constitutional review of the act,” defending his decision to put an temporary ban on abortion restrictions.
“It is in the public interest to preserve the status quo and give the parties ample opportunity to develop the record regarding the constitutional questions raised without subjecting plaintiffs or the public to any of the act’s potential harms,” the judge said.
“While some Pro-Lifers may be tempted to despair at today’s ruling, this is the first step in a longer and consequential legal battle over this dynamic and historic legislation,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement.
Yeakel’s ban comes after Texas lawmakers went back to court Tuesday for a hearing in Austin aimed at reversing the lawsuit that was set to block the ban on second trimester abortions. The order also follows Texas courts banning dismemberment abortions in May. Texas abortion providers filed a retaliatory lawsuit in July, however, claiming that the new restrictions put an unconstitutional limit on abortion access by banning “dilation and evacuation.” (RELATED: Texas Goes Back To Court To Ban Dismemberment Abortions).
The judge’s ruling also comes after the Texas legislature passed House Bill 214 in mid-August, ensuring that no taxpayers in the state would have to pay for general abortions any longer. (RELATED: Texas Bans Insurance Companies From Covering General Abortions)
Yeakel expects the state to appeal, and has set a Sept. 14 hearing date to entertain further arguments from both sides on the merits of continuing or ending the injunction.
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