Post-Roe State Abortion Ban Litigation
Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton (Texas)
This case challenged a Texas law from 1925 banning all abortions in the state. The total abortion ban went into effect on July 1, 2022.
When the U.S. Supreme Court took away the constitutional right to abortion on June 24, 2022, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton put out an advisory stating that the state’s trigger abortion ban, which bans abortion from the moment of fertilization, would not take effect for at least two months. However, he noted that “abortion providers could be criminally liable for providing abortions starting today” based on the state’s “abortion prohibitions predating Roe.”
Attorney General Paxton’s advisory referred to the 1925 ban (1925 TEX. PENAL CODE arts. 1191–1194, 1196), which courts had previously interpreted to be repealed and unenforceable due to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
On June 27, the Center for Reproductive Rights and its partners filed a lawsuit,Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton, in state court, seeking to block enforcement of the pre-Roe ban and resume abortion care before six weeks in the state until the trigger ban went into effect. On June 28, the District Court of Harris County granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the ban.
After the district court’s decision, the state filed for a Petition for Writ of Mandamus and an Emergency Motion for Temporary Relief in the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Appeals for the First Judicial District of Houston, Texas, asking the two courts to block the restraining order.
On July 1, the Texas Supreme Court partially granted the state’s request to stay the district court’s restraining order, allowing the ban to take effect. On July 12, the Court of Appeals denied Texas’s mandamus petition. The ban remains in effect. This case was dismissed on October 5, 2022.
Center Attorneys: Marc Hearron, Nicolas Kabat, and Astrid Ackerman
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, ACLU Foundation of Texas, Inc., and Morrison & Foerster LLP
Plaintiffs: Whole Woman’s Health, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, Brookside Women’s Health Center and Austin Women’s Health Center, Houston Women’s Clinic, Houston Women’s Reproductive Services, and Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center
|June 24, 2022||The U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and takes away the constitutional right to abortion. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton puts out an advisory stating that abortion bans predating Roe could make abortion providers immediately criminally liable for providing care.|
|June 27, 2022||The Center files a lawsuit in state court to block the pre-Roe ban, which would make abortion legal up to six weeks of pregnancy in Texas.|
|June 28, 2022||A Texas district court grants a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the ban.|
|June 29, 2022||The state petitions the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Appeals for the First Judicial District of Houston, asking them to block the district court’s restraining order.|
|July 01, 2022||The Texas Supreme Court partially grants the state’s request to stay the restraining order, allowing the pre-Roe ban to take effect.|
|July 12, 2022||The Court of Appeals denies Texas’ mandamus petition.|
|October 05, 2022||The Center’s case is dismissed.|
- Complaint in Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton, 6.27.22
- Temporary Restraining Order, 6.28.22
- Petition for Writ of Mandamus, 6.29.22
- Emergency Motion for Temporary Relief, 6.29.22
- Texas Supreme Court Response to Petition for Writ of Mandamus, 7.1.22
- Press Release: Texas Abortion Ban Challenged, 6.27.22
- Press Release: Total Abortion Ban in Texas Can Be Civilly Enforced, 7.1.22