Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Planned Parenthood gets injunction against Texas Right to Life

It’s a start.

Right there with them

A district court in Travis County granted a temporary injunction on Monday, which will stop an anti-abortion group from being able to sue Planned Parenthood centers under SB 8, the so-called “heartbeat bill.”

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed a request for a temporary injunction on Sept. 2 against Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion nonprofit and its associates. Planned Parenthood wanted to stop the group from suing abortion providers and health care workers at its centers in Texas.

The court ruled Monday that Texas Right to Life has “not shown that they will suffer any harm if a temporary injunction is granted” and that Planned Parenthood has “shown that they have a probable right to relief on their claims that SB 8 violates the Texas Constitution.” Planned Parenthood also has “no other adequate remedy at law,” the court said.

The court said the injunction will remain in effect until a final ruling; a trial on the merits of the case was set by the court for April 2022.

See here for the background. CNN has some more details.

This order applies only to Texas Right to Life and is part of a larger — and piecemeal — approach by abortion rights advocates to try to blunt the effect of the law. Other short-term temporary restraining orders are in place against other anti-abortion advocates, and more permanent injunctions are being sought in those cases.

[…]

In a court hearing Monday, Julie Murray, the attorney for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the judge that the organization is currently “complying with SB8 precisely because of the overwhelming threats of litigation” and that a temporary injunction “will not restore abortion services … but it will prevent and reduce the litigation exposure and constitutional harms that [Planned Parenthood] will experience.”

The parties spent nearly two hours coming to an agreement about the terms of the injunction.

I would like to know more about the “other short-term temporary restraining orders in place against other anti-abortion advocates”. I was going to suggest a massive wave of litigation by pretty much every provider, doctor, affiliate, advocate, and anyone else who felt threatened by SB8, but maybe that is already happening. Obviously, we want to get a sweeping federal injunction against this travesty, which would cover all of the contingencies, but who knows how long that could take, and it would be at the mercy of the Fifth Circuit, so fire away on all cylinders in the meantime. If these guys want to live by the lawsuit, let’s see how they like being on the other end of it. Axios has more.

Related Posts:

One Comment

  1. policywonqueria says:

    RE: SB 8 LAWFARE AGAINST PRO-LIFE DEFENDANTS

    A couple of comments:

    1. This is old news, but with a new twist. Texas Right to Life is trying to get these cases moved out of Travis County District Court. Wait for an exclusive, though probably not from the Texas Tribune.

    2. This is an Agreed Order. So, the recitations in it are just standard stuff to satisfy the temporary injunction requirements. Doesn’t mean a whole lot. For the same reason, there will be no appeal. Bloomberg News got it right (“Texas Anti-Abortion Group Agrees Not to Enforce Six-Week …”). CNN deliberately put out a misleading headline (“Texas judge issues injunction against anti-abortion group on enforcing new law.”). They acknowledge in the body of their piece that the interim agreement was negotiated, and have a link to a copy of the Agreed Order.

    Why would they agree to the temporary injunction?

    Apparently, Texas Right to Life is interested primarily in the abortion ban surviving as long as possible, rather than collecting $10,000 and up per unlawfully induced fetal demise. This makes perfect sense, given their ideological commitments, and undermines the claim that an anti-suit injunction is needed against them. If they were to file against Planned Parenthood or other abortion provider themselves, it would hand the abortion providers the test case they don’t currently have, and they would get to the merits sooner than Judge Pitman in the US v. Texas case. After all, in Travis County, you can get a rapid-fire TRO even on the weekend. Why not as a defendant? Especially when you already know that the local Lady Justices are on your side?

    3. Someone is trying to get the Planned Parenthood case file sealed (which may have been part of the bargaining on Monday). The docket contains an entry labeld “ORDER TO SEAL” dated Sep. 13, 2021. Let’s see if that will pique the interest of the quality media. Perhaps there have been lynching threats against pro-lifers on top of some Democrats’ call for the DOJ to go after them with the KKK Act.

    Or perhaps the dramatis personae just want to keep the public in the dark. Who knows?

    Per Fifth Circuit, the case cite is: Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, et al. v. Texas Right to Life, et al., No. D-1-GN-21-004632, 53rd Judicial District Court of Travis County

    The Agreed Order actually shows a different court. Apparently it’s a game of musical chambers and benches in the Sweat you-all Courthouse.

    Copy of order here: http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2021/images/09/13/texas.order.pdf (Kudos to CNN for making it available, all the more important now that the case file has apparently been off-lined).

    As you can see, this order was signed by Judge Karin Crump, purportedly for the 50th Judicial District, which is her court, not the filing court. The September 3, 2021 TRO that preceded it was signed by a different judge, Maya Guerra Gamble, who is the presiding judge of the 459th Civil District Court, apparently acting for the 59th Judicial District, which presumably is also the court identified in the Westlaw entry.