Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Texas’ Near-Total Ban On Abortions

On Wednesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked Texas' ban on abortions. This move prevents the state of Texas from enforcing strict abortion laws while the legal fight over them proceeds through federal courts.

The Texas Supreme Court temporarily halted enforcement of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws... [+] while the federal court battle continues. AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Robert Pitman, U.S. District Court Judge, called the law an offensive deprivation of a fundamental constitutional right. He enjoined Texas and anyone acting for Texas from enforcing it. Pitman also directed state judges and state court clerks with the power to enforce or administer law to refrain from doing so. The first legal blow against Texas' Senate Bill 8 (S.B.8) law was delivered Wednesday. 8) had previously been subject to early challenges. Officials from the state immediately informed the court that they will appeal Wednesday's ruling by the conservative-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is not clear if the suspension will have an impact on abortions in the state, as S.B. 8.8 contains a peculiarity that anyone who violates it, even while temporarily blocked, could be subject to legal action if the law is restored.

Important Quote

S.B. 8 was put into effect on the day that Pitman wrote his ruling. Pitman wrote that since the S.B.

Important Background

The September 1st, SB 8, which prohibits abortions after six weeks of a pregnancy, save in cases of medical emergency, went into effect. According to different sources, 85% to 90% are pregnant by the time they have an abortion in Texas. This law effectively bans almost all abortions in the State. The Texas law, unlike other heartbeat bills was not immediately invalidated by the courts. It empowers private citizens to enforce the statute and not government officials who are more likely to be sued. A citizen can sue anyone who aids or abets abortion. The maximum amount of damages is $10,000. After a separate lawsuit was filed by abortion providers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it was too early to challenge S.B.'s legality. The legal challenge brought by the Bidens Justice Dept against the law failed. 8.

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