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The American Civil Liberties Union has accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of unlawfully threatening abortion providers with criminal charges before new restrictions took effect following the Supreme Court ruling. of the United States which overturned Roe v. called “triggering laws”.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in Houston on behalf of several health care providers, the civil rights group said Paxton issued a notice on June 24 saying the state’s trigger law would not come into effect. effective for two months or more.
“Attempts by Mr. Paxton and the Texas Legislature to greenlight the immediate prosecution of abortion providers based on violations of the pre-Roe ban must not stand,” the complaint said.
The ACLU said it plans to argue at a hearing Tuesday for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to block enforcement of Texas’ abortion ban. Prior to the High Court ruling, Texans could have an abortion up to six weeks gestation.
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“With the blessing of five Supreme Court justices, politicians will soon be able to force Texans to bear the serious risks, pains and costs of pregnancy and childbirth against their will,” said Julia Kaye, attorney for the ACLU at the Reproductive Freedom Project. “But that day is not today, despite Attorney General Paxton’s campaign to immediately stop all abortions by threatening illegal prosecution under outdated laws.”
Fox News contacted Paxton’s spokesperson. In a tweet, he said he expected a trial.
“The pro-abortion left is, as expected, suing me and the state of Texas for blocking our state’s pro-life laws,” he wrote. “I anticipated this and I’m ready. They will lose. Texas laws defending the unborn child will win.”
Court battles in other states have also taken place over restrictions on abortions. Much of Monday’s court activity focused on “trigger laws,” passed in 13 states and designed to take effect quickly after last week’s Supreme Court ruling.
A Utah judge has blocked that state’s near-total abortion ban from going into effect for 14 days, to allow time for the court to hear challenges to the law triggering the abortion. State. In Louisiana, a judge in New Orleans, a liberal city in a conservative state, temporarily blocked enforcement of that state’s trigger law abortion ban, after rights activists abortion argued that this was unclear. The decision is in effect pending a hearing on July 8.
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In South Carolina, a federal court lifted its hold on an abortion restriction, allowing the state to ban abortions after an ultrasound detected a beating heart. In Florida, abortion rights advocates have asked a judge to block a new law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks with some exceptions to save a mother’s life or if the fetus has a life-threatening abnormality.
Abortion rights activists also took to court on Monday to try to push back against restrictions in Idaho, Kentucky and Mississippi.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.