A judge in Texas handed a minor victory to Planned Parenthood late Friday in the organization’s fight against the state’s ban on abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization, prohibiting it from enforcing the new six-week ban, which empowers private citizens to sue those who carry out or assist in abortion procedures for up to $10,000.
The judge ruled that the new bill, which took effect Sept. 1, “creates a probable, irreparable, and imminent injury” to Planned Parenthood as well as its doctors and staff, should they be subject to the private lawsuits that the ban authorizes. Under the law, the state does not enforce the ban, rather deputizing private individuals to file suits against those who violate it.
The decision establishes a toehold for pro-abortion rights groups to fight back against the new law, the most restrictive in the country.
According to the judge’s ruling, no lawyers for Texas Right to Life appeared in court to argue against the motion for a restraining order. The next hearing on the matter, in which Planned Parenthood will need to prove its need for a permanent restraining order, is scheduled for Sept. 13. The temporary restraining order will expire Sept. 17.
Texas Right to Life has quickly emerged as a central organization in the public debate and legal battles over the state’s new law. Earlier Friday, web hosting company GoDaddy barred the group’s whistleblowing site from its services. Activists had inundated the site, which solicits tips about abortions that would be illegal under the new law, with fake leads, with some even writing computer scripts to do so.
The Supreme Court elected not to take up the case against the bill late Wednesday night, allowing it to remain in place in a severe blow to the rights established under Roe v. Wade.