A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Texas law that would restrict the most common type of second-trimester abortion.
In a 17-page ruling on Thursday, Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas found that opponents of the law had shown “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” and granted a two-week restraining order while the case proceeds. The restriction had been scheduled to take effect on Friday.
The law — part of Senate Bill 8, passed this spring — would require doctors to stop the fetus’s heart before performing a dilation-and-evacuation abortion, in which the cervix is dilated and the fetus is removed in pieces. This would be done either by injecting chemicals or by cutting the umbilical cord. There would be an exception for life-threatening emergencies.
Joe Pojman, the executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, which supports the Texas law, said in a statement that the state “should have the right to protect innocent unborn babies from dismemberment abortions, in which a doctor kills a child by tearing him or her into pieces.” The fact that courts have consistently ruled against bans on dilation-and-evacuation abortions, he argued, “shows how extremely out of touch the Supreme Court precedent is with modern science, which clearly tells us that an unborn child’’ is a living human being.