US /

Clinics Turn Patients Away After Brief Gap on Abortion Ban

Biden administration hasn't said anything about a next step
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2021 4:15 PM CDT
Clinics Turn Patients Away After Brief Gap on Abortion Ban
The shadow of a security guard is seen on the doorway to Alamo Women's Reproductive Services, Thursday in San Antonio.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas clinics on Saturday canceled appointments booked during a 48-hour reprieve from the most restrictive abortion law in the US, which was back in effect as weary providers again focus their hopes on the Supreme Court. The Biden administration, which sued Texas over the law, has yet to say whether it will go that route after a federal appeals court reinstated the law late Friday. Two days earlier, a lower court in Austin suspended the law, which prohibits abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks, before some women know they are pregnant. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. The White House had no comment Saturday, the AP reports.

For now, the law is in the hands of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the restrictions to resume pending further arguments. There are also new questions—including whether anti-abortion advocates will try punishing physicians who performed abortions during the brief window the law was paused from late Wednesday to late Friday. Texas leaves enforcement in the hands of private citizens, who can collect $10,000 or more if they successfully sue abortion providers who flout the restrictions. Texas Right to Life created a tip line for reporting violators. About a dozen calls came in after US District Judge Robert Pitman suspended the law, said John Seago of the anti-abortion group.

Although some clinics said they had resumed abortions on patients who were beyond six weeks, Seago said his group had no lawsuits in the works. He said the clinics' statements did not "match up with what we saw on the ground," which he said include a network of observers and crisis pregnancy centers. At Whole Woman's Health, which has four clinics that perform abortions in Texas, CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said she did not have the number of abortions performed for patients beyond six weeks but put it at "quite a few." She said her clinics were again complying with the law and acknowledged the risks physicians and staff took. "Of course we are all worried," Miller said. "But we also feel a deep commitment to providing abortion care when it is legal to do so."

(Read more Texas stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.