AUSTIN, Texas — In a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a lower court injunction of Texas’ extreme abortion ban Friday night, meaning the law — SB 8 — will go back into effect immediately.
SB 8 bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before many know they’re pregnant, and incentivizes anyone — including abusive partners, estranged relatives, and complete strangers — to act as bounty hunters and take doctors, health centers, and anyone who helps another person access abortion to court. If successful, they could collect at least $10,000 for each abortion, paid by the person who is sued.
“The Fifth Circuit has failed again to preserve a critical right that has long existed in the United States," said Adriana Piñon, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas. “We’ve already seen the devastation caused by allowing this extremist law to exist for a few weeks. Texans are traveling hundreds of miles to access abortion care in overwhelmed clinics outside the state. People without the money to travel will be forced to continue with pregnancies they decided not to carry. That reality will especially impact communities of color. Black women have a maternal mortality rate three times that of white women, and this law will only make that worse. Abortion is critical health care, and no one should be denied safe and legal access to it."