HOUSTON, Aug 19 ― The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a Texas law banning the most common abortion procedure used by doctors for terminating second-trimester pregnancies, overturning an earlier decision from a three-judge panel of the same court.
The decision marks the first time a US federal court has ruled to uphold a prohibition on the standard abortion method used after 15 weeks of pregnancy ― dilation and evacuation, or D&E ― though a number of other states have acted to outlaw the procedure.
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit last October sided with abortion rights activists in affirming a 2017 lower-court decision that struck down the Texas law as unconstitutional and temporarily barred its enforcement.
The panel’s 2-1 opinion held that the statute in question “unduly burden’s a woman’s constitutionally protected right” to terminate her own pregnancy before the foetus is considered viable.
But the full 5th Circuit, acting on an appeal from Texas, reheard the case in January and issued its “en banc” decision yesterday vacating the panel’s decision, thus putting the Republican-enacted abortion restriction into effect.
Under the newly reinstated law, D&E abortions are forbidden unless the physician first performs a separate, additional procedure in the woman’s body to bring about the demise of the foetus. ― Reuters