Some Texas abortion providers have begun to perform abortions after heartbeat detection since a federal court issued an injunction

Some Texas abortion providers have begun to perform abortions after heartbeat detection since a federal court issued an injunction
Abortion-rights activists supporting legal access to abortion protest during a demonstration outside the US Supreme Court on March 4, 2020. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • A federal court blocked Texas' new abortion law on Wednesday.
  • Abortion providers there have resumed abortion procedures after the 6-week gestational period.

Texas abortion clinics sprang into action Wednesday night after a federal court issued an injunction blocking the state's restrictive new abortion law.

Senate Bill 8, which restricts people from receiving abortions after six weeks of gestation or a heartbeat is found, became law on September 1. It allows anyone to sue any clinic, doctor, or person who aids and abets the patient receiving a prohibited abortion for at least $10,000 in addition to court fees if the suit is successful.

Representatives from Whole Woman's Health, a national abortion provider with four abortion clinics spread throughout Texas, told reporters in a press conference that they and several other providers have already begun to perform previously prohibited abortion procedures after the six-week deadline presented by the law.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, the group's founder and president, said the organization kept a waitlist of patients who had already passed the six-week gestational period in need of an abortion to let them know about the court's injunction and schedule them an appointment.

"We were able to see a few people as early as eight, nine this morning right away when we opened the clinic," Miller said. "We are consenting people for care beyond that six-week limit today and hope that we will be able to take care of those people tomorrow and beyond - as long as this injunction stands."


The state of Texas has already filed a notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Whole Woman's Health said they'll continue to perform abortions after six weeks of pregnancy until the court makes it's decision, though it's unclear how long that will take and if the state will ask for an emergency motion to speed up the process.

Despite the injunction, abortion clinics are taking major risks by performing the abortion as the Texas law lets people retroactively sue violators for four years. If the Fifth Circuit or Supreme Court removes the injunction, these abortion providers could face a bevy of lawsuits.

Texas Right to Life, a nonprofit organization that opposes abortions, said in a statement Wednesday night that they fully expect the Fifth Circuit to overturn the decision, but noted the injunction will stop the enforcement of the law.

"Until a higher court intervenes, the disappointing reality is that Pitman's ruling will likely stop the Texas Heartbeat Act from being enforced," wrote Kimberlyn Schwartz, the group's director of media and communication.

But until then, Miller was clear that her clinics have the capacity and staff to provide adequate care.


"Our goal is to make sure every Texan can feel seen, and heard, and unjudged as they received high quality medical care," Miller said.