Fifth Circuit upholds Texas abortion ban

August 24, 2021

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2017 Texas statute prohibiting D&E (dilation and evacuation) or dismemberment abortions in the second trimester.

With bipartisan backing, the Texas legislature passed the Texas Dismemberment Abortion Ban in 2017, making D&Es a felony and prohibiting them from being done unless in an emergency. Whole Women’s Health, several Planned Parenthood groups, several doctors, and others sued in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas after the bill was approved but before it went into effect.

The district court decided in their favor, halting the law’s implementation. The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal, and in October, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision.

Paxton then requested that the matter be reviewed by the entire 17-member court, which they agreed to do in January. Nine judges on the New Orleans-based appeals court ruled in favor of the Texas Act, five against it, and three recused themselves eight months later in an en banc review.

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