Update 7:25 p.m.: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott released a statement on the Supreme Court blocking a pending Texas law on abortion:
“HB 2 was a constitutional exercise of Texas’ lawmaking authority that was correctly and unanimously upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Texas will continue to fight for higher-quality healthcare standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law.”
The original post follows:
Their fight is far from over, but pro-choice advocates in Texas can let out a sigh of relief after the nation's top court decided to not let through – for now – a state law that would have forced the closing of many of the state's abortion clinics.
In the latest twist in an ongoing labyrinthine back-and-forth on women's rights in the Lone Star State, the Supreme Court agreed
to a request from a clinic in Austin to block the state law from going into effect, which would taken place on Wednesday.
The law, Texas House Bill 2, would have made it mandatory for state abortion clinics to meet a new and unprecedented set of clinical standards, down to the building design and infrastructure.
The move would have basically forced half of the state's clinics to shutter, since they would not have met the new standards. Only a handful would have remained operational.
Pro-choice advocates will still need to officially appeal to the Supreme Court, but the high court's decision to block the Texas law all but means it plans to tackle the ever-thorny issue of abortion on its own.
The appeal to the top court was made after a federal appeals court sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who apparently doesn't hold much respect for the nation's top court.
So, Texas clinics can stay open for now, but there's no guarantee it'll stay that way for long.
"The Supreme Court decision is a temporary victory for Texans' health and safety, but it only postpones a public health disaster," NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said in a news release. "Health care should not depend on your zip code or your bank balance. We can celebrate this decision today, but the reality is that Texans' health and safety and are still in jeopardy."