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FRIDAY, Dec. 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Abortion providers in Texas can sue state officials in federal court over the state's new abortion law, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday, but it refused to block the law while such legal actions may be taken.
In its ruling, the high court said lower courts should consider challenges against the law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and has been in effect since September, The New York Times reported. Abortion clinics in the state have curtailed performing the procedure and many women seeking abortions are being forced to travel out of state, the newspaper said.
Abortion rights supporters had hoped the Supreme Court would reverse course from a Sept. 1 ruling that allowed the Texas law to take effect, The Times reported.
The Texas law has some highly unusual features. Typically, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. But the Texas law, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or "aids and abets" it, The Times reported.
The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, and people who help pay for the procedure or drive the patient to a clinic for the procedure are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who do not need to live in Texas, have any connection to the abortion, or show any injury from it, are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win, The Times reported.
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Updated on May 25, 2022