A judge has ruled that women in Texas who have major pregnancy difficulties would be “temporarily exempt” from the southern US state’s abortion ban, as reported by the BBC.
The ruling is expected to be appealed by the state and the temporary injunction will be in force until the lawsuit is decided.
Breaking the ban of the Texas law can carry a $100,000 fine and up to life in prison. The legislation was introduced in 2022 – shortly after the Supreme Court overturned its 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision.
Jude Jessica Mangrum said there was a “lack of clarity in the legislation, siding with women and doctors who had sued Texas over the ban in March”.
The BBC reported that the group of women and doctors are suing the state of Texas in the hope of changing the ban.
Judge Mangrum wrote that women are “delayed or denied access to abortion care because of the widespread uncertainty regarding physicians’ level of discretion under the medical exception to Texas’s abortion bans”.
She also added that doctors must be allowed to determine what constituted medical emergencies that would risk a women’s health or even life.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is suing Texas, hailed the ruling. The group said:
“Today’s ruling alleviates months of confusion around what conditions qualify as medical emergencies under Texas’ abortion bans, giving doctors permission to use their own medical judgment in determining when abortion care is needed.”
The Texas attorney general’s office argues that the “exceptions being pushed by the plaintiffs would effectively allow ways of bypassing the ban”.
“It would, for example, permit abortions for pregnant females with medical conditions ranging from a headache to feelings of depression,” office lawyers say.