AUSTIN — The Texas Supreme Court denied a request Monday from Planned Parenthood to resume its lawsuit, filed in a state district court, that challenges the state’s near-total abortion ban.
Planned Parenthood asked the all-Republican court last week to overturn the Texas Multidistrict Litigation Panel’s decision to indefinitely pause its suit alongside 13 other lawsuits filed in Travis County district court. The panel of five judges stopped the cases from continuing at the request of Texas Right to Life, a prominent anti-abortion organization that helped draft Texas’ abortion restrictions.
The suit filed by Planned Parenthood asked the court to declare unconstitutional the abortion law, which bans the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. A hearing was scheduled for this month, the organization said, before the panel of judges paused proceedings. In that case, the court temporarily blocked Texas Right to Life from being able to sue Planned Parenthood for potential violations of the abortion law.
“The Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to remain in effect is extremely disappointing and will likely deprive Planned Parenthood of its day in court, once again,” Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for public policy litigation and law, said in a statement.
Texas Right to Life applauded the Texas Supreme Court’s decision.
“We are thankful that Planned Parenthood’s attempt to shortcut the normal process of litigation was again denied,” Kimberlyn Schwartz, the organization’s media and communication director, said in a statement.
Elizabeth Myers, a Dallas-based attorney who represents plaintiffs for the other 13 lawsuits blocked, said Monday’s ruling was disappointing, but she called the stay a temporary setback.
“We’ll present our arguments and the defendants will ultimately have to attempt to defend SB8 on the merits,” Myers said. “That is something the defendants are obviously scared and unwilling to do, so it’s not surprising that they continue to try to delay it. At some point, their delay tactics will no longer work and our clients look forward to that day.”
Texas’ near-total abortion ban has been in effect for more than a month, and most abortions in the state — experts estimate more than 85 percent — have ceased