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Waco Planned Parenthood holds off on abortions as procedures resume across Texas

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:21 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The local Planned Parenthood clinic off Highway 6 will not resume performing abortions even as procedures resume across the Lone Star State in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling.

Some clinics across Texas resumed performing abortions on Thursday after a federal judge, Robert Pitman, ruled to stop the state’s new abortion law, deemed the most restrictive in the nation.

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson said because the State of Texas has already appealed the judge’s ruling, it would be impractical to resume abortions because an appeals court could put the law back in place at any point.

“We don’t know how quickly the judge’s ruling could get overturned,” said Sarah Wheat, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.

“That could come tomorrow. That could come over the weekend. So, if we only have a couple of days where this extreme abortion ban is being blocked that’s not very many patients who are going to be able to access abortions during that short window of time.”

Senate Bill 8 went into effect in early September, banning abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks after a woman gets pregnant. Experts say most women do not know they are pregnant before six weeks.

Although Planned Parenthood said its Waco clinic is not currently performing abortions as of Wednesday, they say the situation is fluid and evolving.

“People seeking an abortion should call our health centers so we can discuss their options,” the organization said in a statement.

“Even before S.B. 8, Texas made it as hard as possible to get an abortion, including forcing patients to undergo state-mandated ‘informed consent’ visits and 24-hour waiting periods for most patients before their actual abortion appointments. We are regularly assessing what’s possible during this period of uncertainty but, given the state’s appeal, our health centers may not have the days or even weeks it could take to navigate new patients through Texas’s onerous abortion restrictions.”

The group said its focus is on a total repeal of the state’s law.

Thursday, anti-abortion protesters stood outside the Waco clinic with signs calling for an end to abortions in the state. Protesters say although the federal judge’s ruling feels like a step backwards, the fight against abortion is one they plan to continue.

“I think Texas needs to pursue it all the way to the supreme court if it has to,” said Sheila Webb, a pro-life. “I mean each state is sovereign and we should have the right to have the laws for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness extend even to the pre-born child.”

Meantime, Planned Parenthood is ramping up efforts to provide contraception to Texans as the fate of abortion access in the state remains in limbo.

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