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Fed. judge blocks Texas dismemberment abortion ban

AUSTIN, Texas (BP) — A federal judge on Nov. 22 blocked a Texas law protecting unborn babies from dismemberment abortions. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel placed a permanent injunction on Senate Bill 8, calling the legislation unconstitutional.

Texas lawmakers passed the bill earlier this year to ban the procedure typically used in the second trimester. See related report.

“The act intervenes in the medical process of abortion prior to viability in an unduly burdensome manner,” Yeakel said.

Texas lawmakers drafted the legislation after the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down a different law placing stricter restrictions on where abortions can take place in the state. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal Yeakel’s decision.

“Through extraordinary evidence and expert witness testimony, we established that Senate Bill 8 is lawful, treats the unborn with dignity and respect, and protects the integrity of the medical profession,” he said in a statement.

“We will defend Senate Bill 8 all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary,” he added.

Before the ruling, Texas was the eighth state to block the procedure. Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia also have dismemberment abortion bans.