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Whole Woman’s Health v. Young (Texas)

(W.D. Tex. No. 1:16-cv-1300 / 5th Cir. Nos. 17-50154, 18-50730)

This case challenged a set of Texas laws that require healthcare providers to bury or cremate embryonic and fetal tissue following an abortion or miscarriage, regardless of their patients’ wishes.

A federal district court declared these laws unconstitutional and permanently enjoined their enforcement in September 2018, and the State appealed.  While the appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Woman’s Health Organization, which overruled nearly fifty years of precedent holding that the Constitution protects abortion access as a fundamental right.  Because the plaintiffs’ claims were based on the right to abortion, they agreed to dismiss the case without prejudice.

“Without prejudice” means that the plaintiffs can bring a new case challenging these laws in the future, and they can assert other legal rights.

Defendants:

Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, in her official capacity

Co-counsel:

Center for Reproductive Rights; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Patrick J. O’Connell

Timeline and Key Documents:

December 12, 2016

Plaintiffs file Complaint

January 27, 2017

District court enters Preliminary Injunction

February 23, 2017

Defendant files Notice of Appeal

March 13, 2017

Defendant files Answer

June 6, 2017

Texas enacts a new statutory scheme governing the disposition of embryonic and fetal tissue to take effect on February 1, 2018

December 5, 2017

Defendant files Motion to voluntarily dismiss appeal

December 6, 2017

Court of appeals enters Order dismissing appeal

December 22, 2017

Plaintiffs file First Amended Complaint

January 5, 2018

Defendant files Answer to First Amended Complaint

January 29, 2018

District court enters second Preliminary Injunction

July 16-20, 2018

District court conducts trial

September 5, 2018

District court enters Opinion declaring the challenged laws unconstitutional and permanently enjoining their enforcement

September 5, 2018

Defendant files Notice of Appeal

September 5, 2018

Court of appeals hears oral argument

October 7, 2019

Court of appeals enters Order holding the case in abeyance until the Supreme Court decides June Medical Services v. Russo

June 28, 2022

Court of appeals enters Opinion vacating the district court’s judgment and remanding the case for further proceedings consistent with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

August 17, 2022

August 23, 2022

District court enters Order dismissing the case without prejudice

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