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Abortion rights groups launch multi-state court effort to stop or slow enforcement of abortion bans

By Tierney Sneed, CNN

Abortion rights proponents have filed court actions in at least seven states seeking to block or slow the enforcement of abortion bans in the days since Friday’s US Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for states to prohibit the procedure.

In Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas, state court lawsuits were filed Monday by abortion providers challenging those states’ moves to ban the procedure. They come as state judges in Louisiana and Utah issued temporary restraining orders, halting enforcement of abortion prohibitions in those states, after abortion providers filed suits.

Additionally, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court in Arizona over the weekend to block a “personhood” provision in an existing abortion law in the state, as abortion rights advocates fear that the state will use the language to prosecute providers or patients. The court has ordered the state to respond by Friday 5 p.m. local time and has set a hearing for July 8.

In the Texas case, abortion providers are challenging an effort to enforce an abortion ban the state codified in 1925. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, issued an advisory Friday giving prosecutors the green light to bring prosecutions under the 1925 ban as they wait for a more recent “trigger law” to take effect.

Texas’ trigger law is designed to go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court enters its judgment in this term’s abortion case. A “judgment” is a formality that follows issuance of an opinion, and can take several days or even weeks.

In the providers’ new case, which was filed in the district court of Harris County, the court has scheduled a temporary restraining order hearing for Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. local time.

Abortion providers in Kentucky are seeking to block the state’s trigger law, which went into effect on Friday, as well as a separate law severely restricting abortions performed at around six weeks into the pregnancy. The providers allege in the lawsuit, which was filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, that the laws violate the privacy protections in the Kentucky Constitution.

Providers in Idaho have turned to the state Supreme Court to block a trigger law set to go into effect on July 19 at the earliest. They claim that the ban runs afoul of multiple provisions of Idaho’s Constitution.

Mississippi’s trigger ban is being challenged in Hinds County Chancery Court by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the same abortion provider that brought the lawsuit against the state’s 15-week ban, which led to the US Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization argues in the new lawsuit against the trigger ban that “Mississippians still have a separate and independent right to privacy under the Mississippi Constitution that the Mississippi Supreme Court held encompasses a right to abortion.”

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