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The Texas Supreme Court on Friday rejected a challenge to one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S. following a lawsuit by women who had serious pregnancy complications.

The ruling from the court, whose nine justices are all elected Republicans, is the latest decision to uphold Texas’ abortion ban, which critics say does not offer enough clarity over when exceptions are allowed.

“Texas law permits a life-saving abortion,” the court wrote in the order signed by Republican Justice Jane Bland.

Last summer, state District Judge Jessica Mangrum had granted a temporary injunction preventing Texas from enforcing the ban against doctors who in their “good faith judgment” ended a pregnancy that they determined was unsafe because of complications. But that was immediately blocked by an appeal from the Texas attorney general’s office to the state’s Supreme Court.

The lawsuit filed in March 2023 didn’t seek to repeal Texas’ abortion ban, but instead aimed to force more clarity on when exceptions are allowed.

It argued that exemptions under the law, which allow an abortion to save a mother’s life or prevent the impairment of a major bodily function, are written too vaguely and create confusion among doctors, who were turning away some pregnant women experiencing health complications because they feared repercussions.

The plaintiffs said the abortion ban has made medical professionals wary of facing liability if the state does not consider the situation a medical emergency.

But the Texas Supreme Court also declined to offer clarity on the exemptions late last year after Kate Cox, a mother of two from Dallas, sued the state for the right to obtain an abortion after her fetus developed a fatal condition and she made multiple trips to an emergency room. Cox ended up leaving the state for an abortion before the court ruled that she hadn’t shown her life was in danger. The court called on the state medical board to offer more guidance.

The medical board’s proposed guidelines, unveiled earlier this year, offered little beyond advising doctors to meticulously document their decision-making. And Texas’ Republican-led Legislature is not expected to make any changes to the law’s language.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Amanda Zurawski, had been told that she had a condition that meant her baby would not survive. But the Austin woman was forced to wait until she was diagnosed with a life-threatening case of sepsis before being provided an abortion. Zurawski spent three days in intensive care and was left with a permanently closed fallopian tube from the infection, which affects her ability to have more children.

Under the law in Texas, doctors who perform abortions risk life in prison, fines of up to $100,000 and revocation of their state medical licenses. Opponents say that has left some women with providers who are unwilling to even discuss terminating a pregnancy.

Most Republican-controlled states have started enforcing new bans or restrictions on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years had affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion.



Donald Trump’s landmark hush money trial turns on the testimony of a prosecution witness who told lies on the stand and cannot be trusted, a defense lawyer said Tuesday during closing arguments as he pressed jurors for an acquittal in the first criminal case against a former American president.

The arguments, expected to last the entire day, give attorneys one last chance to address the Manhattan jury and to score final points with the panel before it starts deliberating Trump’s fate.

“President Trump is innocent. He did not commit any crimes, and the district attorney has not met their burden of proof, period,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche, who said the evidence in the case should “leave you wanting.”

In an hourslong address to the jury, Blanche attacked the foundational premises of the case, which charges Trump with conspiring to conceal hush money payments prosecutors say were made on his behalf during the 2016 presidential election to stifle a porn actor’s claim that she had a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier.

Blanche countered the prosecution’s portrayal of Trump as a detail-oriented manager who paid dutiful attention to the checks he was signing and rejected the idea that the alleged hush money scheme amounted to illegal interference in the election.

“Every campaign in this country is a conspiracy to promote a candidate, a group of people who are working together to help somebody win,” Blanche said.

After more than four weeks of testimony, the summations tee up a momentous and historically unprecedented task for the jury as it decides whether to convict the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in connection with the payments.

Because prosecutors have the burden of proof, they will deliver their arguments last.

Prosecutors will tell jurors that they have heard enough testimony to convict Trump of all charges while defense attorneys aim to create doubts about the strength of the evidence by targeting the credibility of Michael Cohen. Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in the hush money payments and served as the star prosecution witness in the trial.

“You cannot convict President Trump of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the word of Michael Cohen,” Blanche said, adding that Cohen “told you a number of things that were lies, pure and simple.”

After closing arguments, the judge will instruct the jury on the law governing the case and the factors the panel can take into account during deliberations. Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, charges punishable by up to four years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. It’s unclear whether prosecutors would seek imprisonment in the event of a conviction, or if the judge would impose that punishment if asked.

The case centers on a $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 election to prevent her from going public with her story of a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump 10 years earlier in a Lake Tahoe hotel suite. Trump has denied Daniels’ account, and his attorney, during hours of questioning in the trial, accused her of making it up.



After approximately five weeks, 19 witnesses, reams of documents and a dash of salacious testimony, the prosecution against Donald Trump rested its case Monday, handing over to the defense before closing arguments expected next week.

Trump’s team immediately sought to undermine key testimony against the former president, who is accused of covering up hush money paid to a porn star over an alleged encounter that could have derailed his successful 2016 White House bid.

His attorneys called lawyer Robert Costello — who once advised star prosecution witness Michael Cohen before falling out with him — in an apparent attempt to puncture Cohen’s credibility.

But Costello’s start on the stand was shaky at best, as his dismissive tone provoked an angry response from Judge Juan Merchan.

Merchan chided Costello for remarking “jeez” when he was cut off by a sustained objection and, at another point, “strike it.” Merchan told him: “I’m the only one that can strike testimony in the courtroom. Do you understand that?”

"And then if you don’t like my ruling, you don’t give me side eye and you don’t roll your eyes.”

Merchan was about to bring the jury back in when he asked Costello, “Are you staring me down right now?” and then kicked out the press to further admonish him.

"I’m putting you on notice that your conduct is contemptuous,” Merchan said, according to the transcript of the conversation that occurred when the press was out of the room. ”If you try to stare me down one more time, I will remove you from the stand.”

Costello didn’t return a message seeking comment Monday night.

Trump, speaking to reporters afterward, called the episode “an incredible display,” branding the proceedings “a show trial” and the judge “a tyrant.”

Extended quibbling among the two legal teams, along with the upcoming holiday weekend, means closing arguments that the judge had hoped could start Tuesday are now anticipated for next week.

It’s unlikely and risky, but the door remains open for Trump to take the stand in the criminal trial, the first ever of a former US president.

Experts doubt he will, as it would expose him to unnecessary legal jeopardy and forensic cross-examination by prosecutors — but his lawyer Todd Blanche has raised the prospect.

On Monday, Blanche finished his third day of questioning Cohen after hours of at times digressive, at other times bruising, exchanges.

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