Texas Heartbeat Act Lawsuits Explained

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The abortion industry has unsuccessfully tried through 16 different lawsuits to stop the Texas Heartbeat Act from saving lives. There has been a lot of back-and-forth and confusion over these lawsuits and what they mean for the life-saving policy. Below is a synopsis of all 16 cases and where they stand now. But the most important takeaway in the midst of all the legalese is that currently the Texas Heartbeat Act is fully in effect and enforceable, saving approximately 100 preborn children and their mothers from abortion every day in Texas!

There are two federal lawsuits seeking to block the Texas Heartbeat Act:

  1. Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Jackson, et al.: Filed in July, this was the first case by the abortion industry attempting to block the Texas Heartbeat Act. This case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on procedural grounds in a last-ditch effort to prevent the Texas Heartbeat Act from taking effect, but SCOTUS denied the abortion industry’s petition and allowed the Texas Heartbeat Act to begin saving lives on September 1. Since then, this case has returned to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for consideration. But the abortion industry continues attempting to rush through the legal process and skip the Fifth Circuit’s effort to fully vet the case and its basic jurisdictional arguments, once again appealing to SCOTUS to block the Texas Heartbeat Act. SCOTUS has taken no action on this petition at this time. Texas Right to Life is not a party in this lawsuit.
  2. United States of America v. State of Texas: This lawsuit was filed by Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 9 in an audacious and unprecedented attempt by the federal government to insert themselves and claim authority to attack a state law. In this case, the DOJ is urging the court to block Texas state officials and all private parties (meaning every citizen) from enforcing the law. An Obama-nominated federal district judge ruled against the Texas Heartbeat Act in early October, but just 48 hours later, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the lower court’s ruling, allowing the Texas Heartbeat Act to again take effect while they hear the full case. The DOJ appealed this temporary decision to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to block the law immediately while the Fifth Circuit hears the full case. We await a final decision from the Supreme Court and are optimistic that they will rule in favor of the Texas Heartbeat Act. Texas Right to Life is not a party to this lawsuit.

There are 14 state lawsuits attempting to block the Texas Heartbeat Act: 

  1. Tuegel v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by a pro-abortion attorney
  2. Van Stean v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by a pro-abortion attorney
  3. Bridge Collective v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by an abortion logistic services organization
  4. Doe v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by an anonymous sexual assault survivor
  5. Faulkner v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by a pro-abortion social worker
  6. Lilith Fund v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by an abortion logistic services organization  
  7. Moayedi v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in August by a Texas abortionist
  8. North Texas Equal Access Fund v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by an abortion logistic services organization 
  9. Afiya Center v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by an abortion logistic services organization 
  10. Fund Texas Choice v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by an abortion logistic services organization 
  11. Clinic Access Support Network v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by an abortion logistic services organization  
  12. Planned Parenthood v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by three Texas Planned Parenthood facilities and a Texas abortionist 
  13. West Fund v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by an abortion logistic services organization
  14. Frontera Fund v. Texas Right to Life: Filed in September by an abortion logistic services organization 

These state lawsuits are narrow attempts to prevent Texas Right to Life from filing lawsuits under the Texas Heartbeat Act against the specific individuals who brought the lawsuits. But these cases are a frivolous attempt by the abortion industry to preemptively silence our speech on the Texas Heartbeat Act. In all but one of these cases, a temporary prohibition on Texas Right to Life filing lawsuits against these specific people and organizations has been allowed. However, in late September, a multidistrict litigation (MDL) panel (which is a panel comprised of Texas district judges) put a temporary hold on all further proceedings in these cases while the panel considers bundling all 14 cases into one and moving their consideration out of Travis County courts which have repeatedly refused to give Texas Right to Life a fair hearing in the cases.

In short, these state lawsuits have temporarily prohibited Texas Right to Life from filing lawsuits under the Texas Heartbeat Act against these specific individuals. But these lawsuits do nothing towards preventing the Texas Heartbeat Act from being enforced against other individuals and groups within the abortion industry, should they violate the law, by other Pro-Life individuals and groups besides Texas Right to Life. We anticipate that when these cases are considered by an unbiased court, we will receive a fair hearing and these frivolous cases against us will be dismissed.

In the midst of all the legal whiplash over the Texas Heartbeat Act, the primary point is that Life is winning in Texas and thousands of preborn children and their mothers have been spared from abortion during the short time the law has been in effect. We are optimistic that the law will continue to survive these and future legal attacks.

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