The Texas Supreme Court issued an order late Friday partially granting state Attorney General Ken Paxton‘s request to stay a lower court order that had temporarily blocked enforcement of most of a nearly century-old abortion ban in the state. The state high court’s order now allows civil enforcement of the 1925 pre-Roe v. Wade ban, according to court documents.
The Center for Reproductive Rights says that, according to its interpretation of the stay, the law cannot be enforced criminally. CNN reached out to Paxton’s office on Saturday to ask whether it agrees that criminal prosecutions remain stayed but has not received a response as of Saturday afternoon. Paxton, a Republican, lauded the state high court’s ruling on Twitter on Saturday.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the state Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban, writing on Twitter that it “slammed the door” on abortion providers. After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, Paxton issued an advisory that told local prosecutors they were able to now bring prosecutions under the pre-Roe law. Abortion providers in the state filed a lawsuit Monday against some district attorneys who oversee locations of some of their clinics, as well as against some state officials, including Paxton.
A district judge in Texas issued a restraining order on a state abortion ban on Tuesday, allowing some clinics in the state to resume abortion procedures for up to around six weeks into pregnancy. The district court is scheduled to hear arguments on the matter in a preliminary injunction hearing in the case on July 12. Meanwhile, the Texas Supreme Court directed the parties involved to submit briefings by Thursday, July 7, at 5 p.m., over whether the district court has jurisdiction to enforce a criminal statute.
Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Friday that Texas’s trigger ban on abortion is “confusing, unnecessary, and cruel.” The law, which was passed in the state legislature in 1917 and was thought to have been repealed in 1973, is not scheduled to take effect until September 1st or later.