Judge Loosens Red State Abortion Ban For Women With Pregnancy Complications

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A Texas judge issued a temporary injunction Friday for women with complicated pregnancies, which would allow them to get abortions under certain circumstances and also protects doctors from prosecution, according to The Texas Tribune.

State District Court Judge Jessica Mangrum of Austin wrote in her issuance that state prosecutors cannot target doctors who decide it best to terminate a complicated pregnancy in their “good faith judgement,” according to The Texas Tribune. Mangrum specified that relevant complications include pregnancies that pose risks of infection, situations in which the fetus is not expected to survive far beyond birth or when the pregnant woman has a medical situation that requires routine and invasive treatment.

Mangrum’s ruling asserts that Texas’ Senate Bill 8 is unconstitutional, according to The Texas Tribune. Mangrum said that the statute’s enforcement lies beyond the legal powers vested to the state officials charged with prosecuting physicians under the law, according to The Texas Tribune. (RELATED: Abortions Dropped Almost 60% In Texas After New Abortion Law Took Effect, Data Shows)

Physicians who allegedly violate the law may face prison time or up to $100,000 in fines, according to Politico.

The state is likely to appeal the ruling, a decision which may lead to the injunction being blocked until the appeal makes its way through the state’s court system, according to The Texas Tribune. A trial to clarify which medical emergencies can justify an abortion has been set for March 23.

The challenge against the bill does not seek to overturn it entirely, but instead to clarify its exceptions, according to Politico.

Texas’ abortion bill went into effect in 2022, and it has been the subject of intense media and legal scrutiny, according to Politico. The bill bans abortion after a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected.

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