Following federal judge’s stop on the most constricting abortion law in the country, at least six clinics in Texas have gone on with abortions but some were left uncertain as they fear the court order is only brief and will push them into legal dangers.
The Senate Bill 8, the most restrictive abortion bill, was suspended by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman but the number of Texas clinics that resumed the procedure remains uncertain. The said law has restricted abortions once the cardiac activity is monitored, or around six weeks, since early September.
There was disapproval from other courts before the 113-page order was released on Wednesday.
“There’s actually hope from patients and from staff, and I think there’s a little desperation in that hope,” Whole Woman’s Health’s president Amy Hagstrom Miller, said.
Whole Woman’s Heath runs four Texas clinics and some have done abortions on Thursday, Miller said, although did not detail the number of clinics that performed the procedure.
“Folks know this opportunity could be short-lived,” she said.
The decision has not immediately brought back the normalcy in Texas.
The Center for Reproductive Rights spokesperson Kelly Krause said that on Thursday, at least six Texas clinics have offered the procedure. Before the law’s effectivity on Sept. 1, there were around two dozen abortion clinics in the state.
No confirmation on the resumption of the procedure was released by Planned Parenthood, Texas’ largest abortion provider. It cited the still-uncertain decision and that the appeals court can still reinstate the law in the next few days. Another group, Fund Choice Texas, which helps women in their travel costs, said multiple patients called on Thursday, asking for assistance to arrange appointments outside Texas.
According to executive director Anna Rupani, the 20 calls were around the normal bulk it received over the past months. The organization is still deciding whether they will assist women needing abortion to get the procedure in Texas despite the court ban.
Private individuals were tapped by the Texas law to enforce the restrictions. They can get $10, 000 in damages if they file positive lawsuits against abortion providers who defy the ban and those who assist patients on getting the procedure, Associated Press reported.
“What’s really frustrating … is this law was drafted to create confusion, and this law was drafted to create problems,” Rupani said. “It’s unfortunate that we have an injunction, and people are still having to understand the legal ramifications of what that means for them.”