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Former state Sen. Wendy Davis files federal lawsuit against S.B. 8

Davis and other litigants seek a court declaration to overthrow Texas’ abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, responds to a question during the final gubernatorial debate in a KERA-TV studio in Dallas on Tuesday Sept. 30, 2014. Ebola, ethics and education were among the issues that dominated the final debate between Davis and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Andy Jacobsohn, Pool) ORG XMIT: TXDAM209

AUSTIN, Texas — Former state Sen. Wendy Davis is challenging the Texas law that bans abortions after about six weeks effectively banning most abortions in the state. The legal challenge was filed in a federal district court alongside leaders with the Stigma Relief Fund, an abortion fund that provides financial and practical support to Texans seeking abortion services.

RELATED: Murder charge dropped against Texas woman accused of self-induced abortion

In a statement released Tuesday, Davis said the law not only complicated reproductive care but also “encouraged vigilante harassment of anyone who provides assistance to abortion patients.”

State Rep. Briscoe Cain was also named as a defendant in the suit after sending cease and desist letters threatening abortion funds in Texas. 

“We are asking the courts today to stop the unconstitutional harassment of abortion funds by confirming S.B.8 cannot be used to silence donors with bogus threats,” said Davis.

Since the law went into effect last fall, many Texans seeking abortion care have been forced to travel out of state. That has reportedly strained abortion clinics in neighboring states like Oklahoma which has its own abortion ban slated to take effect this summer. 

RELATED: Oklahoma governor signs bill to make abortion illegal

“S.B. 8 has devastated access to abortion care in Texas, and the ripple effects of its continued enforcement are felt deeply by patients in Texas and in states across the country,” said Marva Sadler, Board Chair for the Stigma Relief Fund and Senior Director of Clinical Services for Whole Woman’s Health. 

The lawsuit is one of several federal legal challenges against S.B. 8 including Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, and the federal government challenged the law in United States v. Texas.

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