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Texas Judge Temporarily Blocks Anti-Choice Group from Suing Planned Parenthood

On Friday, a U.S. district judge in Texas granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a restraining order against Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group in Texas. The group is temporarily blocked from suing Planned Parenthood under Texas’s newly enacted six-week abortion ban, called S.B. 8.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of the District Court for Travis County issued the temporary restraining order, which protects Planned Parenthood from being sued by Texas Right to Life until September 17. In her decision, Judge Guerra Gamble stated that “S.B. 8 creates probable, irreparable, and imminent injury” for Planned Parenthood, and “their physicians, staff, and patients throughout Texas have no adequate remedy at law” if they were to be sued under S.B. 8.

“We are relieved that the Travis County district court has acted quickly to grant this restraining order against Texas Right to Life and anyone working with them as deputized enforcers of this draconian law,” said Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s vice president for public policy litigation and law, in a statement.

The law, which went into effect Wednesday, not only prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, but it also incentivizes private citizens to sue anyone who helps a person get an abortion with a potential $10,000 reward if their case is successful. It effectively eliminates all abortion access in Texas.

Texas Right to Life, the largest anti-choice group in Texas, has already taken steps to enforce SB 8. The organization created an anonymous tip line for individuals to post information about people possibly having abortions after six weeks in Texas. This tip line was removed from its original host site, GoDaddy, on Friday for violating the terms of service.

The temporary restraining order, which was filed by several Planned Parenthood facilities in Texas, prohibits Texas Right to Life, or anyone working for them, from bringing lawsuits against Planned Parenthood or their abortion providers. However, the restraining order does not prevent other groups or individuals from suing Planned Parenthood under the new ban.

Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the Texas law in a 5-4 ruling.

“The restraining order offers protection to brave health care providers and staff at Planned Parenthood health centers throughout Texas, who have continued to offer care as best they can within the law while facing surveillance, harassment, and threats from vigilantes eager to stop them,” Krasnoff continued.

“But make no mistake: this is not enough relief for Texas. Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for the millions of Texans affected by S.B. 8., doing everything we can under the law to restore Texans’ federal constitutional right to access abortion.”

Sources: New York Times 9/3/21; Planned Parenthood 9/3/21; Planned Parenthood 9/3/21; Feminist Newswire 9/1/21; CNN 9/3/21; NPR 9/3/21; Feminist Newswire 9/2/21

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