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Texas judge says abortion laws must allow exception for complications

Plaintiffs brought the case to get more clarity on when exceptions to abortion restrictions would be allowed.
Abortion rights demonstrators attend a rally at the Texas state Capitol
Posted at 10:35 PM, Aug 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-04 22:35:31-04

A Texas judge ruled Friday the state's abortion laws put too much of a restriction on women with serious pregnancy complications. The judge said the laws must be changed to allow certain abortion exceptions and to protect doctors from the possibility of criminal charges in those cases.

The suit decided today was not meant to repeal Texas' abortion laws — instead plaintiffs wanted more legal clarity on when exceptions were allowed.

The case is thought to be the first challenge brought by women who were denied abortions after the Supreme Court overturned the protections of Roe v. Wade in 2022. It is the first to carve out an exception to the abortion laws Texas put in place after the Supreme Court's decision in 2022. Under those laws, abortion clinics in Texas have shut their doors or moved out of state over the last year.

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Texas is expected to appeal the new decision, and says doctors' fears of legal recourse under the existing laws are "unfounded." The state says there are already allowances for exceptions to the law as it's written now.

Under that law, doctors in Texas face the risk of life in prison and fines of $100,000 for performing certain abortions.

Opponents of the law said that some doctors therefore chose not to even discuss abortion care with their patients.