Texas abortion law strains clinics: ‘Exactly what we feared’

The Department of Justice filed an emergency motion Tuesday night to stop the enforcement of a new law that bans most abortions in Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — One Texas woman traveled nearly 1,000 miles to Colorado for an abortion. Others are driving four hours to New Mexico. And in Houston, clinics that typically perform more than 100 abortions in a week are are down to a few a day.

Two weeks after the nation’s strictest abortion law took effect in Texas, new court filings show the deepening impact a near-total ban on abortion is already having, as the Biden administration late Tuesday asked a federal court in Austin for an emergency order to temporarily halt enforcement of the measure known as Senate Bill 8. One network of clinics of Texas, which performed more than 9,000 abortions in 2020, said it has turned away more than 100 patients since Sept. 1.

The law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks and before some women know they’re pregnant. Enforcement is left up to private citizens who are deputized to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers, as well as others who help a woman obtain an abortion in Texas. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, did not immediately take action Wednesday on the request by the Justice Department.

“Since S.B. 8 took effect on September 1, exactly what we feared would happen has come to pass,” Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said in a court filing.

Written by PAUL J. WEBER

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