Planned Parenthood Temporarily Blocks Texas Right to Life Heartbeat Law

Supporters and patients of Planned Parenthood take part in a "Pink the Night Out" rally at City Hall, which is part of a nationwide series of actions in support of the organization and in opposition to US President Donald Trump's health care proposal, in Los Angeles, California on June 21, …
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Planned Parenthood has secured a rare emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) in a suit against Texas Right to Life, fresh off the heels of the 5-4 Supreme Court decision not to block the new bill prohibiting abortion after six weeks.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of the District Court in Travis County, Texas, approved Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health’s application for a TRO in the wake of the Supreme Court decision this week. Judge Gamble insists in the document that the plaintiffs, including doctors and staff, would face imminent lawsuits without the protection of the TRO while waiting to file a preliminary injunction:

The Court finds that S.B. 8 creates a probable, irreparable, and imminent injury in the interim for which Plaintiffs and their physicians, staff, and patients throughout Texas have no adequate remedy at law if Plaintiffs, their physicians, and staff are subjected to private enforcement lawsuits against them under S.B. 8. Money damages are insufficient to undo the injury to Plaintiffs, their physicians, and staff if the Defendants are not enjoined from instituting private enforcement lawsuits against Plaintiff under SB8. 

The order goes on to read, “The Court further finds that granting this request preserves the status quo preceding this controversy and follows precedent from the Supreme Court of Texas.”

The TRO blocks the first 100 lawsuits that would be brought under the new law. However, only lawsuits brought by citizens working with Texas Right to Life are under the authority of the TRO’s scope: “A temporary restraining order is entered enjoining Defendants and any and all parties and persons in active concert and participation with them, from instituting any private enforcement lawsuits against Plaintiffs, their physicians, or staff under S.B. 8.

The temporary restraining order will last two weeks, until September 17. A hearing for a preliminary injunction has been set for September 13. 

The case is Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. Texas Right to Life No. D-1-GN-21-004632, in District Court of Travis County, Texas.

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