AUSTIN, Texas — Texas' recently passed abortion law, which is the strictest in the nation and outlaws the procedure once cardiac activity can be detected, is unusual in that it empowers individuals to sue abortion seekers as well as anyone who helps a woman to obtain an abortion past the specified period.
At the forefront of enforcement is an anti-abortion group called Texas Right to Life, which set up a website encouraging people to identify those in violation of Senate Bill 8, which is now known as the Texas Heartbeat Act.
For the time being, neither Texas Right to Life nor anyone affiliated with it will be able to sue Planned Parenthood for possible violations of the abortion law.
On Monday, Texas District Court Judge Karin Crump in Austin issued a temporary injunction blocking such suits.
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs will be imminently and irreparably harmed in the interim absent a temporary injunction,” Crump wrote in her decision. "Plaintiffs reasonably fear that Defendants and those acting in concert with them will file claims against them under S.B.8.”
“The Court finds that Defendants have not shown that they will suffer any harm if a temporary injunction is granted,” Crump continued.
The temporary injunction doesn’t abolish the law and won’t prevent people from receiving awards of up to $10,000 if an abortion seeker or someone aiding an abortion seeker is found guilty.
“We are relieved that the Travis County district court has entered a temporary injunction against Texas Right to Life and anyone working with them. Despite Texas Right to Life’s last-ditch attempt to get out of testifying at today’s court hearing, our providers and health care workers will now have some protection from frivolous suits as litigation against this blatantly unconstitutional law continues,” Planned Parenthood Vice President for Public Policy Litigation and Law Helen Krasnoff said in a statement.
The injunction is expected to remain in place until April 2022, when a trial on the merits of the case is anticipated.
The Department of Justice last week sued Texas over the law.