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Temporary restraining order weakens new Texas abortion ban

Washington: Texas abortion providers have won a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life and its associates, blocking them from suing providers and healthcare workers at Planned Parenthood health centres in the state under a new law.

Planned Parenthood sued the anti-abortion group in state court to stop the group from enforcing Texas’ new six-week abortion ban.

The new law creates a “probable, irreparable and imminent injury in the interim” for Planned Parenthood, its physicians, staff, and patients throughout Texas, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of the Texas District Court for Travis County wrote in the temporary restraining order.

Women protest against Texas’ tough new abortion ban on September 1, 2021.

Women protest against Texas’ tough new abortion ban on September 1, 2021. Credit:Austin American-Statesman

Providers would have no adequate legal remedy for that injury if they’re subjected to private enforcement lawsuits against them, Gamble said.

The order applies to Texas Right to Life and Planned Parenthood centres in the state.

The providers challenged the law’s most unusual aspect — its delegation of enforcement power to private citizens, meaning that anyone, anywhere can sue an alleged abortion provider who violates the six-week ban. The law entitles a winning plaintiff to $US10,000 per abortion ($13,000), plus costs and lawyers’ fees.

Texas Right to Life and its legislative director, John Seago, have already started recruiting private citizens to sue providers such as Planned Parenthood, the complaint said.

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The anti-abortion group created a “whistleblower” website to identify potential plaintiffs, as well as informants to provide data on alleged violations of the law, the complaint said. Providers asked the court to block these lawsuits.

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