Federal appeals court upholds Texas ban on standard abortion procedure

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a 2017 Texas law banning an abortion method widely considered standard procedure in second-trimester pregnancies, a decision that could eventually go to the Supreme Court.

A majority of the judges of the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and other defendants in the case, defending the law that prohibits certain procedures without first ensuring if the fetus is alive.

Proponents of the law, which has never been enforced, refer to the standard abortion practice as “dismemberment abortion”, when it is medically known as dilation and evacuation.

While a three-judge panel from the same appeals court blocked enforcement of the law last year, majority opinion judges on Wednesday said the visualization of the law, known as of SB8 in court records, “through a binary framework – that D&E can be done only by live dismemberment, otherwise women cannot have second-trimester abortions is to accept a false dichotomy.

“Instead, the record shows physicians can safely perform D&E and comply with SB8 using methods that are already widely used,” the judges added.

Abortion advocates have argued that dilation and evacuation is one of the safest methods of abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and that fetuses cannot feel pain during the period of pregnancy. pregnancy specified in Texas law.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, who is one of the plaintiffs in the case, argued Wednesday that the Texas ban “is about cutting off access to abortion, and nothing else.” .

“In no other area of ​​medicine would politicians consider blocking doctors from using a standard procedure,” she said in a statement. “It should never be a crime for doctors to use their best medical judgment and follow the latest science.”

She went on to say, “Texans deserve the best care available, and this law prevents that.”

“As the six-week ban looms, it is even more apparent that these abortion laws are meant to make abortion completely inaccessible,” she added, referring to the new Texas law that is due to come into force in September and which would ban almost all abortions after a fetus. the heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill Johnson also condemned Wednesday’s appeals court ruling, calling it “a discriminatory attack on people of color, low-income people, women and people from rural communities.”

“Bans like these create a world where your ability to control your life depends on who you are and how much money you make,” she added, promising to work with the other organizations involved in the case to “continue to fight this dangerous ban in every way possible.

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