Photo: Tony Gutierrez, STF / Associated Press

Abortion restrictions in Texas faced a renewed challenge on Monday in federal court, as abortion rights groups argued in court that more than two dozen of the state’s laws and restrictions are unconstitutional.

The hearing came on the eve of the Texas Legislative session, where lawmakers have proposed still more of the sort of restrictions that have led to a series of lawsuits pitting the abortion rights activists against the Texas attorney general’s office.

Monday, the abortion rights groups in federal court were targeting laws that require a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, that require women to get sonograms of the fetus before getting an abortion, and a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, among others.

“Abortion patients and providers now face a dizzying array of medically unnecessary requirements that are difficult, time-consuming, and costly to navigate — sometimes prohibitively so,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs ask the Court to strike down Texas’ unduly burdensome abortion laws, returning the State to a regime of reasonable and medically appropriate abortion regulation.”

Attorneys for the state called the lawsuit “meritless and bordering on frivolous.”

In the past, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel has called his Austin courtroom a “whistlestop” for the “constant, never-ending stream” of abortion-related cases on the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And the stream is showing no sign of slowing down.

A bill for the legislative session has already been filed by Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, that would make it illegal for a Texas doctor to perform an abortion except to save a woman’s life, and there are several other proposed bills that would create various restrictions. If any of the bills are signed into law, they’re sure to face a legal challenge, sending the two sides back to to Yeakel’s courtroom.

“We know we’ll be fighting this again,” said Marsha Jones, the executive director for The Afiya Center, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “This case will still be going on a year from now, and there will probably be a new one too, just a different law with a different name affecting women’s reproductive healthcare. But we’ll still be here.”

The legal landscape for these cases has shifted following President Donald Trump’s appointment of conservative Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Kavanaugh replaced longtime swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, throwing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion, into question.

Despite the now conservative makeup of the Supreme Court, former state Sen. Wendy Davis said she didn’t anticipate a change in strategy on the part of abortion rights groups in the state. Davis drew national attention in 2013 for her 13-hour filibuster to block an anti-abortion bill in the Texas Legislature.

“I don’t think you can abandon one strategy for another,” Davis said. “That’s why we have three branches of government, and we have to rely on exercising tools and resources at our disposal in each of those realms. It would be foolish for us to look at the current makeup of the court and decide that we’re going to give up on that route because I believe that the law is on our side, and I’m reliant on a judiciary that’s going to uphold that.”

On the other side of the debate, Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, also said he doesn’t expect any Supreme Court reversals in the near future.

“Unfortunately, the case law is currently very bad and the precedent is very bad against the Texas Legislature for doing what we think is just a matter of justice,” Pojman said. “I’m very cautious, and I’m not foreseeing any earthquakes any time soon.”

If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned by the Supreme Court, conservative Texas Legislators heading into the session are going to be ready. Rep. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, filed a resolution that would amend the Texas Constitution to automatically ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.