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Abortion ban takes effect in Tennessee, paused in Texas


A federal court Tuesday allowed Tennessee to ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, while a Texas judge temporarily blocked enforcement of that state's decades-old ban on virtually all abortions, in a flurry of activity set off at courthouses across the U.S. by the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Statewide bans or other restrictions that were either left on the books for generations, tied up by legal challenges or specifically designed to take effect if Roe were to fall are now in play as a result of last week's Supreme Court ruling.

Roughly half the states are expected to prohibit or severely limit abortions now that the high court has left it up to them.

Since Friday, judges have agreed to allow bans or other restrictions on abortions to take effect in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. But abortion bans remained temporarily blocked in some states, including Louisiana, Texas and Utah. Decisions are pending in other places, including Florida and Indiana. Abortion rights advocates also dropped some of their legal efforts in Indiana, Minnesota and Missouri.

Some clinics initially turned patients away soon after the high court ruling came down, but then reopened as judges ruled in their favor. That happened in Louisiana on Tuesday.

In Houston, a Democratic city in a conservative state, a judge blocked enforcement for now of a statewide ban on virtually all abortions. Abortions in Texas are still prohibited at about six weeks because of a law that took effect last year.

But after Tuesday's ruling, Texas clinics, which stopped providing services on Friday, received assurances they can resume operations for at least a few more weeks without risking prosecution. At least one provider reopened to patients.

In Tennessee, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday allowed a six-week ban to take effect at the state's request. An even more restrictive ban, prohibiting nearly all abortions, is set to take effect in a month. Both measures would make performing an abortion a felony and subject doctors to up to 15 years in prison.



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