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Lawsuit over Texas abortion ban declared 'effectively over'

AUSTIN, Texas (TND) — A ruling by the Texas Supreme Court has effectively ended abortion providers' legal challenge to the state's restrictive ban, providers said Friday.

"Today’s ruling will result in dismissal of the remaining portion of the challenge to the 6-week ban, meaning S.B. 8 will likely remain in effect for the foreseeable future," said the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is leading the lawsuit by a group of Texas abortion providers.

Texas' law has banned all abortions for women who are at six weeks or more of pregnancy. Abortions in Texas have plummeted since it was enacted and multiple Republican-controlled states have started to push similar laws through legislatures.

The federal lawsuit made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which dismissed most of its challenges to Senate Bill 8. The only remaining challenge allowed to move forward in lower courts was an effort to prevent state licensing officials and the Texas Medical Board from punishing doctors and health care professionals who provided an abortion in violation of the law.

That challenge was dismissed by the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled those officials have no enforcement authority. “There is nothing left, this case is effectively over with respect to our challenge to the abortion ban,” said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton agreed with the plaintiffs' assessment that the ruling effectively ends legal challenges against the abortion ban. "Today I secured a major victory in the Texas Supreme Court re. the Texas Heartbeat Act (SB 8). This measure, which has saved thousands of unborn babies, remains fully in effect, and the pro-abortion plaintiffs’ lawsuit against the state is essentially finished. TEXAS IS PRO-LIFE!" Paxton stated on Twitter.