Connect with us


The’ Pandemic Bonds ‘ maturity of the World Bank in July–Investors Lose $500 million



The' Pandemic Bonds ' maturity of the World Bank in July–Investors Lose $500 million

If the worldwide pandemic was announced before July 2020, creditors would cash in hundreds of millions of dollars in large World Bank cash-outs.

Now that the deadly coronaviral epidemic spread around the world and has yet to announce a pandemic with the World Health Organisation, skeptics are questioning whether this is just fuel.

After the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa in 2014, it took several months for the countries urgently needed by the World Bank to get massive sums of funding (approximately 100 million dollars).

Thousands died of Ebola at the time. The World Bank, which has released $425 million for “pandemic debt” and associated derivatives to pay for emergency relief, aimed at tackling the next pandemic sooner.

QZ discusses how the “pandemic fund” of the World Bank works: loans are bought by borrowers and daily discounts are paid in return. The creditors don’t get their initial capital back while an epidemic outbreak is happening. Two forms of debt are scheduled for maturity in July 2020.

The first bond raised $225 million and had a yield of nearly 7%. Bond payout is stopped if new influenza or coronaviridae viruses (SARS, MERS) are outbreaks.

The other expensive debt, at more than 11 percent, received $95 million. This pledge keeps the capital if Filovirus, Lassa Fever, Rift Valley Fever and/or Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever break out. The World Bank has released 105 million dollars in equally working swap derivatives.

Foreign financial insiders purchased the shares, potentially wagering against a global epidemic outbreak, so if they can get back into July 2020 without a pandemic, World Bank holders can get back their first shares plus 7 percent bond interest.

Yet when it is announced that a pandemic happens, the participants will forfeit all their initial investments to the pandemic.

Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.


High school football: St. Thomas Academy’s last run beats Mahtomedi



High school football: St. Thomas Academy’s last run beats Mahtomedi

Whenever St. Thomas Academy and Mahtomedi meet on the football field as of late, high drama seems to ensue.

Last season, it was a four-overtime affair in which the Cadets finally came out on top.

But that, it turned out, was only a prelude for what transpired when the two teams crossed paths again Friday night in Mendota Heights.

St. Thomas Academy, which had won its first five games by an average margin of 28.4 points, had to come from behind in dramatic fashion against the Zephyrs — scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back Love Adebayo as time expired to beat the Zephyrs 18-13.

The score came after the Cadets had lined up for a field-goal attempt by junior Mark Rogalski. But three consecutive defensive offside calls on Mahtomedi put the ball on the Zephyrs’ 2-yard-line, and St. Thomas Academy opted to go for the touchdown.

“It happened fast,” Adebayo said. “I got to the line, and it was like a blur. Suddenly I was in the end zone, and we had won the game.

“Our fullback made a great block, and our offensive line pushed everyone in. I saw the outside was open, and I just took off.”

St. Thomas Academy – ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 5A – improved to 6-0. Mahtomedi – ranked No. 10 – dropped its second straight game and fell to 4-2.

“In the heat of the moment, kids try to make plays,” Zephyrs coach Dave Muetzel said of the penalties on his team. “That’s what happened there.”

The game-winning drive came after St. Thomas Academy threw an incomplete pass on fourth down that gave Mahtomedi the ball back at its own 44, leading 13-12 with 2:18 to play. But a fumble seconds later provided St. Thomas Academy with another chance, giving the Cadets the ball back at their own 41.

“I was really pleased with the way our defense played tonight,” St. Thomas Academy coach Dan O’Brien said. “Aside from four or five plays we wish we could have back, they played an outstanding game. They made the plays when we needed them.”

Mahtomedi trailed most of the game but managed to take the lead for the first time when sophomore quarterback Charles Brandt scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with four and a half minutes to play.

That followed a 94-yard kickoff return by senior Gunnar Woods in the third quarter that cut the Cadets’ lead to 12-6 – a play that came immediately after Adebayo had scored on a 2-yard run to put St. Thomas Academy on top 12-0.

“I think I died about three times tonight,” O’Brien said.

“Anytime we play these guys, it’s a battle. I’m not sure which was more stressful – the four-overtime game or this one. I think it was this one by a little bit.”

Adebayo, who had 10 carries for 81 yards in the first half as his team built a 6-0 halftime lead on a pair of field goals by Rogalski, said being tested the way they were Friday will be good for the Cadets down the road.

“I think this shows we’re a really good team that doesn’t give up,” Adebayo said. “We didn’t blow anybody out tonight. We needed to win a hard-fought game, and we did it.”

Continue Reading


No. 6 Gophers beat UMD for first victory of the season



No. 6 Gophers beat UMD for first victory of the season

Audrey Wethington had a goal and assist, and Lauren Bench stopped 24 shots as Minnesota’s women’s hockey team beat Minnesota Duluth, 3-1, Friday at Amsoil Arena.

It was the first victory of the season for the Gophers (1-2-0), ranked sixth in this week’s USCHO poll. Elizabeth Giguere scored for the seventh-ranked Bulldogs (1-2-0). The teams meet again Saturday at 3 p.m.

“Great team win here tonight,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “Some big blocked shots down the stretch, some really nice goaltending from Lauren Bench, and we were able to apply some pressure.”

Wethington started the scoring 2 minutes, 36 seconds into the game with her second career goal, and freshman Ella Huber followed with her first late in the first period. Emily Oden added an insurance goal in the third period.

Emma Soderberg made 21 saves for the Bulldogs.

“All in all, a really good hockey game and really fun to get our first win of the season,” Frost said. “Ella Huber getting her first goal and having that milestone was pretty fun, too.”

Continue Reading


After hedge fund fiasco, Hmong charter school may keep superintendent



After hedge fund fiasco, Hmong charter school may keep superintendent

In the wake of a $4.3 million loss from an illegal hedge fund investment, Hmong College Prep Academy’s school board appears to be standing by its superintendent.

The board on Friday appointed a transition team whose tasks will include searching for a new authorizer by June. The current authorizer, Bethel University, has said it no longer wants to do that job beyond 2023.

Christianna Hang and her husband, chief operating officer Paul Yang, tentatively are slated to serve on that transition team, pending input from CharterSource, a consultant hired last month to help the board with governance issues.

“We don’t mind not being on the team,” Hang said Friday. “I just don’t want anyone to think there’s a conflict of interest or anything.”

Bethel in August recommended the school board fire Hang, who made the $5 million hedge fund investment in order to help pay for a middle school expansion for the St. Paul school.

Bethel also issued a corrective action plan and placed the school on probation — a first step toward possibly withdrawing its authorization, which would force the school to close unless it finds a new authorizer.

The call to fire Hang was made as a recommendation, not a required element of the action plan.

Even as it begins searching for a new authorizer, the school board has begun complying with Bethel’s action plan.

The board on Friday took financial responsibilities away from Hang and moved toward hiring a separate chief financial officer, as well as a 12-month financial consultant who will report directly to Bethel.

And the board last month hired an attorney to investigate Hang’s $5 million investment with Woodstock Capital Partners. Some board members during that meeting expressed hope that the investigation will clear Hang’s name.


Hang last month asked that the board reimburse her for attorneys fees related to that investigation and any other issues she may face in connection with the hedge fund investment. The board’s own attorney, Jim Martin, advised against doing so, and the board took no immediate action. Board member Fue Vue said Friday he’s still seeking advice on the matter, so the board again tabled the proposal.

Before discussing Hang’s request, Vue said the board already has spent roughly $100,000 on attorneys and media consultants in the wake of the investment.

The school has sued Woodstock in hopes of recovering its lost investment, saying the hedge fund had agreed to use safe, liquid investments that comply with Minnesota law. Woodstock denies that and blames the $4.3 million loss on the global financial collapse related to the coronavirus pandemic.

A U.S. District Court judge this week ruled that the case will be litigated in Minnesota, denying the hedge fund’s bid to move it to either New Jersey or Delaware.

Continue Reading


Biden won’t invoke executive privilege on Trump Jan. 6 docs



Congress foresees short-term debt fix amid perilous standoff


WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Friday that President Joe Biden will not block the handover of documents sought by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, setting up a showdown with former President Donald Trump, who wants to shield those White House records from investigators.

The letter from White House counsel Dana Remus to the Archivist of the United States comes at the start of a potentially lengthy legal battle over the investigation. Trump, who told his supporters to “fight like hell” the morning of the insurrection and has defended the rioters who beat police and broke into the Capitol, is trying to block Congress from learning more. Biden has so far sided with House Democrats, who have asked for thousands of pages of documents and subpoenaed witnesses connected to Trump.

The House committee investigating the insurrection, which formed over the summer, now has the momentous task of sorting through the details and obtaining documents and testimony from witnesses who may or may not be cooperative. And the jockeying between the two administrations, Congress and the witnesses is certain to delay the investigation and set the stage for messy litigation that could stretch well into 2022.

In a separate development, a lawyer for Steve Bannon said the former White House aide won’t comply with the House committee’s investigation because Trump is asserting executive privilege. Bannon is the only one of the top Trump aides subpoenaed on Sept. 23 who was not working for the Trump administration on Jan. 6.

Two other aides, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Pentagon aide Kash Patel, are “engaging” with the committee, lawmakers said in a statement.

Remus wrote that Biden has determined that invoking executive privilege “is not in the best interests of the United States.” The House panel had asked for the records, including communication within the White House under Trump and information about planning and funding for rallies held in Washington. Among those events was a rally near the White House the morning of Jan. 6 featuring remarks by Trump, who egged on a crowd of thousands protesting Biden’s win.

Remus wrote that the documents “shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.”

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Friday. It was first reported by NBC News.

Trump responded with his own letter to the National Archives formally asserting privilege over nearly 50 documents.

Referring to the Presidential Records Act, Trump wrote, “I hereby make a protective assertion of constitutionally based privilege with respect to all additional records.” He said if the committee seeks other information he considers privileged information, “I will take all necessary and appropriate steps to defend the Office of the Presidency.”

The investigation sets up a unique clash, pitting the current administration against its predecessor. Since Biden now holds the office of the presidency, he will make the call on some of Trump’s privilege claims. And while Biden has accommodated the first requests from Congress, the White House has said it will review new claims on a “case by case basis.”

The final word may not rest with Biden, but the courts, if Trump decides to litigate — which is expected — or if the House votes to hold any of the witnesses in contempt of Congress. In the case of a House contempt vote, the Justice Department would then decide whether to prosecute.

If Trump were to win a case to block the documents, that would mark a dramatic expansion of the unwritten executive power. But he is expected to have an uphill battle, as courts have traditionally left questions of executive privilege up to the current White House occupant.

The leaders of the Jan. 6 panel, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said in a statement Friday that “we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.”

The committee’s subpoenas had set a Thursday deadline for Bannon, Meadows, Patel and a fourth witness, former White House communications aide Dan Scavino, to provide documents. They also set dates for interviews next week. Patel said in a statement that “I can confirm that I have responded to the subpoena in a timely manner” but would not elaborate. A spokesman for the committee declined to comment on whether Scavino was cooperating.

In a Sept. 23 letter to Bannon, the committee said he had been in contact with Trump in the weeks ahead of the attack, urging him to focus his efforts in overturning the election on Jan. 6, when Congress certifies electoral votes. The letter noted that Bannon had been quoted on Jan. 5 as saying “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

Bannon’s lawyer, Robert Costello, said in an Oct. 7 letter to the panel that until the issues over privilege are resolved, “we are unable to respond to your requests for documents and testimony.” Costello wrote that Bannon is prepared to “comply with the directions of the courts” when and if they rule.

Costello’s letter includes excerpts from a separate letter to Bannon by Justin Clark, a lawyer for Trump. Clark says documents and testimony provided to the Jan. 6 panel could include information that is “potentially protected from disclosure by executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process and attorney client privileges.”

The committee has subpoenaed 13 other individuals connected to the planning of Jan. 6 and set deadlines for documents and interviews later this month.


Associated Press writers Ben Fox and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

Continue Reading


Girls soccer: Como Park tops Humboldt in Mayor’s Cup



Girls soccer: Como Park tops Humboldt in Mayor’s Cup

The Como Park Cougars maintained their undefeated record in the sixth annual Mayor’s Cup with a 1-0 victory over the Humboldt Hawks in girls soccer on Friday at Allianz Field in St. Paul.

“We’ve always brought the cup home, and we’re seniors and it’s our last year. So that was our challenge. We had to bring the cup home for our school, for our team… it made our whole community happy,” the Cougars’ Isabella Sanchez-Esparza said on what this game meant.

Como (7-8-0, 5-2-0) had a tight grip for much of the game. The Cougars retained pressure and possession the entirety of the first half. Not much would amount from the pressure, though the scoring chances were there.

In the sixth minute, Como got its first scoring chance off a corner. After centering the ball, Nightin Day tried to put it on goal, but she missed wide right. That was just the beginning of an attack that didn’t let up.

The Cougars would go on to rack up six shots in the first half, all stopped by Hawks goaltender Easter Paw. Paw had a lot of help from her defense to help shut down the relentless attack.

The continuous stopped rushes gave the Hawks (4-10-0, 2-5-0) a small spark as they were able to flip the field for a brief stretch. Como defensemen Lucy Hebble and Mariatu Kanu were both more than ready and shut down both of the Humboldt attacks in the first half.

The second half got off to a quick start for the Cougars. In the 42nd minute, Lenia Lopez Bibiano broke the scoreless tie.

The Hawks started to get some momentum again and were inches away from a game-tying goal off a free kick that led to an open net.

After the exciting opening to the second half, both teams hit a stalemate. It was a lot of back-and-forth action as the Hawks were starting to find their groove. But neither team found the back of the net again.

This was the first time the matchup was away from either of the team’s home fields, and it was clear there was a difference. Exhaustion started to kick in on both sides as players were hunched over whenever there was a small break in action.

“We’ve never played on a field with this much width or length, and we’re not really used to grass fields,” Kanu said. “It’s just such a large field, we weren’t fully ready for it.”

It was a special game for both teams to be able to play such a big game on such a big stage.

“It’s jaw dropping that we were even able to play here at all. As seniors we’ve been waiting for a couple of years, and the fact that we got to is so amazing. It makes me feel ecstatic,” the Cougars’ Lenia Lopez Bibiano said.

The boys played in their Mayor’s Cup directly after the girls game. The Hawks lead that series 3-2 heading into the sixth match.

Continue Reading


Video: Dash cam shows man shooting at officers before he was fatally struck by squad in Mounds View



Video: Dash cam shows man shooting at officers before he was fatally struck by squad in Mounds View

Squad car video released by the Ramsey County sheriff’s office Friday shows Troy Allen Engstrom firing a gun once at a Mounds View police officer and once at a sheriff’s deputy before the deputy struck him with his squad Sept. 22 in Mounds View.

Engstrom of Shoreview died later that night of multiple blunt-force injuries. The 48-year-old Shoreview man was a domestic assault suspect and had been accused of firing a gun in a nearby hotel earlier that day.

The 24-second video cuts off right before the SUV’s impact with Engstrom, who can be seen trying to run with a gun in his right hand.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said Friday the video was edited to not show when Engstrom was struck “for his family’s sake.”

Fletcher said the video shows the danger posed by Engstrom, whose bullets narrowly missed the officer and deputy.

“The shots landed on both squad vehicles, and they were inches away from the officers’ heads, Fletcher said. “They both were extremely lucky they were not killed.”


The video shows the deputy — Sgt. Donald Rindal — driving the SUV east on County Road H2 before crossing Mounds View Boulevard and soon pulling up to where Engstrom stood on the sidewalk. Engstrom’s gun is pointed at the Mounds View officer’s SUV, which stopped with the driver’s side door open.

Engstrom fired one shot at the officer.

“Gotta gun! Shots fired! Shots fired!” Rindal said to dispatchers.

Engstrom turns the gun at Rindal and fires a second shot; Rindal then accelerates toward Engstrom. The video then stops.


The incident began after Mounds View police responded to a 10:40 a.m. call of an alleged felony domestic assault that involved a man who fired a gun in a room at the AmericInn by Wyndham at 2200 Mounds View Blvd. A witness reported seeing the assault suspect walking near the Mermaid Bar & Grill, which is adjacent to the hotel.

After getting the suspect’s description, an officer and deputy spotted him in the area County Road H2 and Jackson Drive, just east of Mounds View Boulevard.

Engstrom’s bullets struck the officer’s SUV just above the driver’s side windshield and the deputy’s SUV just below the driver’s side windshield, according to the sheriff’s office.

A cocked handgun was recovered at the scene.

Rindal, who has worked in law enforcement for 22 years, was put on standard administrative leave, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release.

RELATED: Ramsey County sheriff’s office releases dash cam video of chase that ended in deadly Maplewood crash


The BCA is investigating the officer-involved use-of-force incident and will present its findings to prosecutors, who will determine if Rindal’s actions were lawful.

Fletcher said it is in the “public’s interest to have these videos released in a reasonable amount of time.” The sheriff’s office on Friday also released video footage of a deputy’s vehicle Sept. 3 pursuit of a stolen vehicle. The vehicle eventually crashed in Maplewood and two passengers, 14- and 15-year-old students at North High School in North St. Paul, were killed.

Fletcher said Rindal, who has worked in law enforcement for 22 years, has an “exemplary record” that includes being named the sheriff’s office 2019 deputy of the year. He is back to work, following a week of standard administrative leave.

Continue Reading


Bones Hyland erupts in Nuggets’ overtime loss to T-Wolves



Bones Hyland erupts in Nuggets’ overtime loss to T-Wolves

If there’s a fine line between preseason basketball and regular season basketball, the Nuggets and the Timberwolves blurred it Friday night.

Even though it was the preseason, there was no love lost between Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns, who wrangled throughout most of the night. But the story of the night was Bones Hyland, whose offensive eruption was marred by the Nuggets’ 114-112 overtime loss to Minnesota to drop to 0-3 on the preseason.

The rookie sunk what appeared to be a game-winning 3 late in regulation only to, inexplicably, concede a layup to force OT. The end of regulation and overtime was filled with lapses, turnovers and miscues that didn’t sit well with Michael Malone even though the game didn’t matter.

Led by Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and Hyland, the Nuggets shattered their stated goal of 40 3-point attempts per game, going 21-of-58 from outside. Those three took 26 attempts alone.

Joker vs. KAT: The two All-NBA caliber centers locked horns like it was the conference finals. Jokic toyed with Towns on the interior en route to a near-triple-double, while Towns barked at Joker following his made baskets. Each possession that funneled through either star yielded bangs and bruises for both parties.

Halfway through the second quarter, Malone picked up a technical foul with Towns draped all over Jokic in the post. The tech was about protecting his star.

Towns had eight points in the first half, while Jokic padded his stats, dropping 10 points, six rebounds and five assists on his counterpart in 16 minutes. One of his dimes was a 3/4-length touchdown pass to Aaron Gordon where Jokic caught the T-Wolves sleeping. Another was a smooth slip pass to P.J. Dozier in transition.

Though Towns probably wouldn’t admit it, Jokic got the best of him. Joker finished with 10 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

Bones hype: Hyland earned the second-half start alongside Jokic, Porter, Gordon and Dozier while Monte Morris rested.

The buzzing rookie may have won over the entire crowd with the ensuing 12 minutes. Hyland proceeded to hang 18 points in the third quarter, including five 3-pointers. His teammates were hunting for him, and Hyland didn’t hesitate when presented with a window. On the last one, Hyland had the Nuggets’ entire bench standing, with Dozier waving a towel as if to cool him off.

Not only did the run inspire confidence that Hyland might crack Malone’s rotation, it was an intriguing look with him alongside the starters. Hyland finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists before fouling out in overtime.

Before the game, Malone pushed back on the narrative that he’s loath to give rookies a chance. He mentioned Jokic, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and Emmanuel Mudiay as examples.

“If you can help this team win, you will play,” Malone said prior to Hyland’s eruption.

Friday night only helped his cause.

Bench woes: And yet part of the reason the game was close was because Denver’s second unit struggled to find any rhythm offensively. In the first half, Denver’s five-man unit of Facu Campazzo, Austin Rivers, Hyland, JaMychal Green and Jeff Green combined for just 2-of-15 from the field. With three turnovers, Rivers was particularly sloppy with the ball.

The Nuggets were sitting on 24 points when Jokic subbed out with 3:28 left in the first quarter. When he returned, at the 7:43 mark of the second quarter, Denver had just 32 points.

Though JaMychal made an impact on the boards, no reserve outside of Hyland finished with more than five points in regulation. The sloppiness was epitomized when Campazzo, leading a fastbreak, threw a bad pass to a trailing Zeke Nnaji that resulted in a turnover. The Nuggets have two more games to go, both at OKC, to sort out their rotations before the regular season arrives.

Continue Reading


State wants leeway on sentencing rules in Daunte Wright case



Former Brooklyn Center officer seeks dismissal of new charge in Daunte Wright killing

Prosecutors are seeking approval for a more severe penalty than what is outlined in state guidelines if a former suburban Minneapolis police officer is convicted in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter is facing charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Wright, who was shot while he was trying to drive away from officers during a traffic stop in April. The sentencing guidelines for first-degree manslaughter range from 6 to 81/2 years in prison.

Potter has pleaded not guilty. She is scheduled to stand trial in December.

Kim Potter

The move is similar to one made by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted in George Floyd’s death. In that case, a judge approved Ellison’s request for an upward departure because Floyd was particularly vulnerable and Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer.

Ellison wrote in a court document filed Wednesday that Potter “caused a greater-than-normal danger to the safety of other people” because she fired into a vehicle with a passenger and two officers were standing close to the vehicle.

Potter is recorded on body-camera video an instant after the shooting saying she mistakenly drew her firearm instead of her stun gun. Potter is white. Wright was Black. His death sparked several nights of protests.

Potter’s attorney, Earl Gray, did not return a phone message left late Friday.

Continue Reading


4A football: Palmer Ridge rallies from three touchdown deficit to beat Ponderosa



4A football: Palmer Ridge rallies from three touchdown deficit to beat Ponderosa

PARKER — Palmer Ridge football got blanked in the first half and trailed Ponderosa by three touchdowns.

The Bears never flinched in a wild comeback victory, 35-28, on Friday night at Echo Park Stadium. No. 5 Palmer Ridge (6-1) rattled off five touchdowns in the second half with senior Connor Cook running in the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.

No. 8 Ponderosa (5-2) opened the night with a pair of touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Andrew Heidel to senior wide receiver Alex Tongren. Its defense was also suffocating.

Continue Reading


U.S. appeals court lets Texas resume ban on most abortions



U.S. appeals court lets Texas resume ban on most abortions

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals court Friday night quickly allowed Texas to resume banning most abortions, just one day after clinics began racing to serve patients again for the first time since early September.

A one-page order by the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the nation’s strictest abortion law, which bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

“Patients are being thrown back into a state of chaos and fear,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents several Texas clinics that had briefly resumed normal abortion services.

She called on the U.S. Supreme Court to “step in and stop this madness.”

Clinics had braced for the New Orleans-based appeals court to act fast after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of President Barack Obama, on Wednesday suspended the Texas law that he called an “offensive deprivation” of the constitutional right to an abortion. Knowing that order might not stand long, a handful of Texas clinics immediately started performing abortions again beyond six weeks, and booked new appointments for this weekend.

But barely 48 hours passed before the appeals court set accepted Texas’ request to set aside Pitman’s ruling — at least for now — pending further arguments. It gave the Biden administration, which had brought the lawsuit, until Tuesday to respond.

“Great news tonight,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted. “I will fight federal overreach at every turn.”

Texas had roughly two dozen abortion clinics before the law took effect Sept. 1. During the brief period the law was on hold, many Texas physicians remained unwilling to perform abortions, fearful that doing so could still leave them in legal jeopardy.

The new law threatens Texas abortion providers with lawsuits from private citizens, who are entitled to collect at least $10,000 in damages if successful. That novel approach to enforcement is the reason why Texas had been able to evade an earlier wave of legal challenges prior to this week.

The 5th circuit appeals court had already once allowed the law to take effect in September, and stepped in this time only hours after Paxton’s office urged them to act.

His office told the court that since the state does not enforce the law, it cannot “be held responsible for the filings of private citizens that Texas is powerless to prevent.”

It is unclear how many abortions Texas clinics performed in the short time the law was put on hold. On Thursday, at least six abortions providers had resumed normal services or were gearing up to do so, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Prior to Pitman’s blistering 113-page order, other courts had declined to stop the law, which bans abortions before some women even know they are pregnant. That includes the Supreme Court, which allowed it to move forward in September without ruling on its constitutionality.

One of the first providers to resume normal services this week was Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said her clinics called in some patients early Thursday who were on a list in case the law was blocked at some point. Other appointments were in the process of being scheduled for the days ahead, and phone lines were again busy. But some of the clinics’ 17 physicians were still declining to perform abortions because of the legal risk.

Pitman’s order had amounted to the first legal blow to the law known as Senate Bill 8. In the weeks since the restrictions took effect, Texas abortion providers said the impact had been “exactly what we feared.”

Planned Parenthood says the number of patients from Texas at its clinics in the state decreased by nearly 80% in the two weeks after the law took effect. Some providers have said Texas clinics are now in danger of closing while neighboring states struggle to keep up with a surge of patients who must drive hundreds of miles for an abortion.

Other women, they say, are being forced to carry pregnancies to term.

How many abortions have been performed in Texas since the law took effect is unknown. State health officials say additional reporting requirements under the law will not make September data available on its website until early next year.

A 1992 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court prevented states from banning abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy. But Texas’ version has so far outmaneuvered the courts because it leaves enforcement to private citizens to file suits, not prosecutors, which critics say amounts to a bounty.

“This is an answered prayer,” said Kimberlyn Schwartz, spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group.


Associated Press Writer Jamie Stengle contributed from Dallas.

Continue Reading