Sweeping Texas abortion lawsuit has judge "confused" and AG slamming "radical pro-abortion agenda"

Sweeping Texas abortion lawsuit has judge "confused" and AG slamming "radical pro-abortion agenda"

A legal team from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has urged the US District Court in Austin to dismiss a lawsuit brought by activists seeking to strike down abortion-related laws and regulations in Texas.

“It’s outrageous that these activists are so dedicated to their radical pro-abortion agenda that they want the courts to repeal laws enacted by the Texas Legislature to protect the health of women getting abortions, such as requiring the sterilization of medical instruments,” Attorney General Paxton said.

“Many of Texas’ common-sense abortion regulations have been in place for decades, are similar to laws passed in a majority of the states, and have been upheld as constitutional by the courts.”

During oral arguments at the district court hearing, Attorney General Paxton’s office pointed out that the US Supreme Court has upheld requirements like those targeted in the lawsuit against Texas, affirming that the state has an interest in safeguarding women’s health and protecting unborn life.

According to the AG, Texas’s abortion-related laws include rules, such as requiring that abortion clinics are licensed, surgical instruments must be sterilized, and more complicated and dangerous late-term surgical abortions must be performed in surgical centers rather than in a doctor’s office.

“My office’s solid legal arguments demonstrated that the lawsuit is attempting to use the judicial system to repeal laws that the state’s elected representatives passed to make sure women who have abortions do so with all the information they need and under conditions that are as medically safe as possible,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I’m hopeful the district court will agree with us and dismiss this baseless lawsuit.”

According to the Texas Tribune US District Judge Lee Yeakel told state attorneys that their 73-page argument confused him. He also expressed confusion about what reproductive rights groups were arguing over.

“This needs to be something not that the court understands but the public understands,” Yeakel said. “I find this case difficult to understand with the status of the record.”

The plaintiffs, however, claimed in their filings that the laws target low-income people, women of color and other marginalized communities.

According to the Tribune, during Monday's hearing in Austin, Beth Klusmann, assistant solicitor general for the Texas Attorney General's Office, said reproductive rights groups were suing to overturn the abortion regulatory system and that it would be easier “to list statutes not being challenged". 

“It would essentially require the court to rewrite abortion law in Texas,” Klusmann was quoted as saying by the news outlet.

According to The Statesman, Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said: “Time and time again, politicians in Texas defy the public’s trust and use their power to advance their extreme anti-abortion agenda from public office. Each time it happens, the courts and the people of Texas have to hold them in check.”

Judge Yeakel did not state when he would make a decision if the case proceeds.

What does the suit aim to overturn?

The suit looks to overturn laws that state abortions be performed by licensed physicians, restrictions on drug-induced abortions, a stipulation that parents and guardians give consent for minors seeking an abortion and a requirement that a minor who is 16 weeks pregnant and decides to have an abortion be treated in hospital-like settings.

Who are the plaintiffs?

The plaintiffs are Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the Afiya Center, Fund Texas Choice, the Lilith Fund, the Texas Equal Access Fund and the West Fund. 

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