US states close family planning clinics following Roe v Wade ruling
The highest courts in Texas and Ohio have allowed Republican-led states to enforce restrictions and bans on pregnancy termination after the US Supreme Court sparked global protests last week by quashing the national constitutional right to abortion.
On Friday night, the Texas Supreme Court allowed a nearly century-old abortion ban to go into effect after overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in Washington.
The order, which allows the law to be enforced civilly but not criminally, came the same day the Ohio Supreme Court gave the state the go-ahead to enforce a 2019 ban on abortions to from six weeks of pregnancy.
The dual orders came a week after the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court restored states’ power to ban abortions, sparking a wave of lawsuits aimed at preserving women’s ability to terminate their pregnancies.
The Texas Supreme Court acted in response to a request by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton to suspend a temporary restraining order issued by a judge on Tuesday that allowed abortions to resume in the state until the already restricted six weeks of pregnancy. .
Lawyers for abortion clinics who challenged the 1925 ban have vowed to keep fighting.
“We will not stop fighting to ensure that as many people as possible, for as long as possible, can access the essential reproductive health care they need,” said Julia Kaye, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing Texas abortion clinics. appealing the ban.
Some pending states
Since last week, abortion rights groups have challenged anti-abortion laws in 11 states, with judges in Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky and Utah blocking restrictions or restrictions. prohibitions.
Friday’s orders came as two Democratic-controlled states, New York and New Jersey, moved to strengthen abortion rights within their borders.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law to allow women who venture into the state to have abortions to do so without fear of lawsuits or civil suits in their home state.
The measures also established new legal protections for New Jersey reproductive health practitioners who provide interstate abortion services.
The New York Senate passed an amendment to the State Constitution to codify the right to abortion, as well as the right to contraception.
Roe had guaranteed a national right to terminate any pregnancy until the time of fetal viability outside the womb – usually between 24 and 28 weeks gestation.
Also on Friday, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers filed a lawsuit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging two state abortion bans, one from 1910 and the other passed this year. .
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision on Tuesday, allowed another abortion ban to go into effect in the state.
Meanwhile, Google has pledged to remove location data indicating when users visit an abortion clinic, over concerns that a digital trail could notify law enforcement if someone unlawfully terminates a pregnancy.
Since last week’s US Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade, the tech industry has been concerned that police could obtain warrants for customer search history, geolocation and other information. revealing pregnancy plans.
The company said location history for a Google account is disabled by default.
Starting in the coming weeks, for those who use location history, entries indicating sensitive locations, including fertility centers, abortion clinics and addiction treatment centers, will be removed shortly thereafter. visit.