Texas Supreme Court rejects lawsuit about medical exceptions to state abortion law

The Texas Supreme Court upheld the state's abortion ban after rejecting a lawsuit about medical exceptions to the law.

The original lawsuit was not to overturn the state's abortion ban, but to have more clarity on when medical exceptions are allowed.

A group of women who had serious pregnancy complications filed a lawsuit in March 2023 hoping to get more clarity, arguing the ban was confusing for doctors, who might turn away patients because they feared repercussions. More than 20 women joined the lawsuit.

Last summer, a district judge granted a temporary injunction preventing Texas from enforcing the ban against doctors who use good faith judgment to perform an abortion, but that was blocked by an appeal from the Attorney General's Office.

The court said Friday the exceptions as written are broad enough that doctors would be misinterpreting if they didn't perform an abortion when a mother's health is in danger.

The state Supreme Court opinion reads, "Texas law permits a life-saving abortion," and "the law does not require that a woman's death be imminent or that she first suffer physical impairment."


Constitutional law professor Eddy Carder from Prairie View A&M University says the law is still very broad.

"It's so vague that doctors, physicians, abortion providers are still going to be very reticent and very reluctant for fear of violating the law," he said.

Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded the court's decision to uphold the state's abortion law, saying it's aimed at protecting mothers and babies.

Carder says the ruling doesn't change the way things are.

"Essentially, at the end of the decision, what we have is, we are still where we were. Texas still has a very narrow abortion law, a very restrictive abortion law," he said.