Speed Reads

texas abortion ban

Texas abortion providers say patients are well aware 'this opportunity could be short-lived'

A federal judge temporarily blocked Texas' strict abortion law on Wednesday, and while several clinics in the state resumed services on Thursday, others kept their doors closed, with doctors concerned that they might still be held liable despite the ruling.

The law went into effect in September, banning abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which typically happens about six weeks into a pregnancy. The Department of Justice challenged the law, and U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted the temporary injunction on Wednesday, saying, "This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right."

There were about two dozen abortion clinics in Texas before the law took effect, and at least six either started operating again on Thursday or began preparing to reopen, Center for Reproductive Rights spokeswoman Kelly Krause said. Whole Women's Health operates four clinics in the state, and its president, Amy Hagstrom Miller, told The Associated Press there is "actually hope from patients and from staff, and I think there's a little desperation in that hope. Folks know this opportunity could be short-lived."

The state said it intends to appeal the ruling, and it's possible that the law could soon be reinstated by the conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The law was written so that citizens enforce it, giving civilians the ability to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. Anna Rupani is the executive director of Fund Choice Texas, which pays the travel expenses for women seeking abortions. She told AP that even with the law temporarily halted, her organization isn't sure if it should try to help patients get abortions in Texas.

"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."