District Judge’s Ruling Grants Exception in Lawsuit Challenging Texas Abortion Ban

Office of Texas Attorney General Blocks Ruling with Swift Appeal to Texas Supreme Court Leaving Abortion Law in Place

Plaintiffs Amanda Zurawski and Samantha Casiano stand with their attorney Molly Duane of the Center for Reproductive Rights outside the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas

Last month, Council for Life reported that the Texas law banning abortion was being challenged in a Travis County Texas District Court in the case of Zurawski v. State of Texas. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights include women who claim their abortions were denied or delayed because of “vague” language in our state law. (See Council for Life News HERE)

Late this past Friday afternoon, Travis County Judge Jessica Magnum found the Texas abortion law restricting abortion access unconstitutional and issued a Temporary Injunction allowing abortions for a “pregnant person with an emergent medical condition.” See Judge Magnum’s Ruling HERE.

Medical emergency exceptions are already in place under Texas abortion law to protect pregnant mothers from physical conditions posing a life-threatening risk. See Council for Life News HERE for an explanation of Texas Abortion Law and Limited Medical Exceptions Allowing Abortion.

Judge Magnum expanded the existing exceptions that permit a doctor to perform an abortion on “a pregnant person.” She found that “physical medical conditions” allowing abortion include, “at a minimum“: “(1) a complication of pregnancy that poses a risk of infection or otherwise makes continuing a pregnancy unsafe for the pregnant person; (2) a condition exacerbated by pregnancy, that cannot be effectively treated during pregnancy, or that requires recurrent invasive intervention; and/or (3) a fetal condition where the fetus is unlikely to survive the pregnancy and sustain life after birth.” She further found that risk to a patient’s fertility should permit physicians to provide an abortion.

However, Judge Magnum’s ruling was short-lived. The Office of the Attorney General of Texas (OAG) immediately filed an Accelerated Interlocutory Appeal Friday evening to the Texas Supreme Court blocking the Judge’s order. See OAG Appeal HERE.

This OAG filing stays the Judge’s ruling pending a decision by the Texas Supreme Court on the appeal. Meanwhile, Texas pro-life laws enacted by the Texas Legislature remain in full effect, and the Judge’s ruling is not. First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster called the injunction “an activist Austin judge’s attempt to override Texas abortion laws.” See Texas Tribune Article HERE

See OAG Press Release HERE

Judge Magnum set the matter for a trial on the merits on March 25, 2024.

Council for Life continues our prayers for the safety and protection of the life of every pregnant woman and the life of every unborn child.