A Texas state judge on Monday issued an injunction temporarily blocking a pro-life group and its affiliates from filing lawsuits against Planned Parenthood in the state.
The injunction issued by Judge Karin Crump of the Travis County District Court prevents non-profit group Texas Right to Life from suing Planned Parenthood for any potential violation of SB8—a new law in the state that went into effect on Sept. 1 and makes abortion illegal if a fetal heartbeat is detectable.
Under the new Texas law, people are authorized to bring lawsuits against doctors who perform illegal abortions and anyone suspected of assisting a pregnant person obtain an abortion. Plaintiffs who succeed may be awarded at least $10,000.
The judge’s injunction is effective immediately and will remain in effect until at least April 2022, when a trial on the merits of the case is expected. It replaces a temporary restraining order granted to Planned Parenthood affiliates earlier this month.
Texas Right to Life said in a statement that the injunction does not block it because citizens not named as defendants can still sue abortion providers or others who violate the law.
“The injunction only prevents the named parties from filing or assisting others in lawsuits against Planned Parenthood abortion facilities,” the pro-life group said.
“Other citizens are legally authorized to sue Planned Parenthood if their abortionists violated the Texas Heartbeat Act, and Texas Right to Life is legally authorized to sue others who might aid or abet abortions.
“Thus, today’s ruling ultimately has no effect on the Texas Heartbeat Act or the risk the abortion industry is taking if they violate” the law, they added.
Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for public policy litigation and law, said in a statement that the group is “relieved” that its providers and health care workers will now “have some protection from frivolous suits as litigation against this blatantly unconstitutional law continues.”
“Desperate Texans are being forced to carry pregnancies against their will or flee the state to seek constitutionally protected care, and brave health care providers and staff across the state are working hard to provide care within the law while facing surveillance, harassment, and threats,” Krasnoff added. “This temporary injunction is an important step, but it is not enough relief.”
Separately last week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state seeking to block the new law.