Texas judge hears legal challenges to restrictive abortion law

Texas judge hears legal challenges to restrictive abortion law

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
November 10, 2021

A state district judge is expected to hear over a dozen consolidated cases Wednesday filed by over the constitutionality of Texas’ restrictive abortion law.

Doctors, abortion rights groups, and social workers are asking David Peeples—a retired state magistrate judge—to declare the Texas law unconstitutional during a 9 a.m. hearing in state District Court in Travis County. The separate lawsuits were filed consolidated by Texas’ multidistrict litigation panel and will be heard together in the proceedings that are expected to last all day.

“SB 8 creates a mercenary incentive to do what the government itself knows it cannot do,” wrote attorneys representing some of the plaintiffs at Wednesday’s hearing. “It deputizes literally millions of people to file lawsuits without any connection whatsoever to an underlying injury. The result is a chilling of activity and speech related to abortions beyond the time when cardiac activity is detectable.”

In each case, the plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of Senate Bill 8 and looked to block Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization, from bringing a civil lawsuit under the statute. The group has yet to sue over the law, but at one point operated a digital tip-line soliciting information about possible violations of the law.

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Texas Right to Life, in an October statement on its website, said it believes these lawsuits will not affect the overall way the law is enforced in the state.

“These lawsuits do nothing towards preventing the Texas Heartbeat Act from being enforced against other individuals and groups within the abortion industry, should they violate the law,” the organization said.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at [email protected]
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