(Headline USA) A state judge has shielded, for now, Texas abortion clinics from lawsuits by a pro-life group under a new state abortion law in a narrow ruling handed down Friday.
District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin issued the ruling in response to a Planned Parenthood request.
The ruling protects clinics from whistleblower lawsuits by the nonprofit group Texas Right to Life, its legislative director and 100 unidentified individuals.
A hearing on a preliminary injunction request was set for Sept. 13.
The law, which took effect Wednesday, lets Texans sue people who facilitate or commit abortion on an unborn baby with a heartbeat — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
In a petition filed late Thursday, Planned Parenthood said about 85% to 90% of people who obtain abortions in Texas are at least six weeks into pregnancy.
The order “offers protection to the brave health care providers and staff at Planned Parenthood health centers throughout Texas, who have continued to offer care as best they can within the law while facing surveillance, harassment, and threats from vigilantes eager to stop them,” said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Helene Krasnoff in a statement.
However, the order will not deter Texas Right to Life’s efforts, said Elizabeth Graham, the group’s vice president.
In a statement, the group said: “We expect an impartial court will dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit. Until then, we will continue our diligent efforts to ensure the abortion industry fully follows” the new law.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.