Texas Abortion Law Hit With First Legal Blow as Judge Temporarily Blocks Its Enforcement
A federal judge on Wednesday moved to temporarily block the enforcement of a Texas law that would prevent women from having an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
The Lone Star State immediately filed an appeal after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin temporarily blocked Texas' controversial restrictions. Pres. Joe Biden's Justice Department sued Texas on September 9 and sought a temporary injunction against the abortion law.
Reports said Texas officials would likely seek a swift reversal from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously allowed the restrictions to take effect.
Pitman took the first legal blow to the Texas Heartbeat Act, also known as Senate Bill 8, which prohibits abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected in a fetus, occurring six weeks during a woman's pregnancy.
It went into effect in early September after the Supreme Court ruled that the law could be enforced while legal challenges were pending.
Texas Judge Temporarily Block State's Abortion Law
According to Pitman, since Senate Bill 8 went into effect in Texas, women have been "unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution," NBC News reported.
"This Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right," Pitman noted in his ruling.
Pitman's ruling garnered mixed reactions. Attorney General Merrick Garland lauded the ruling, saying it was a "victory" for both "women in Texas and the rule of law."
Garland then noted that "it is the foremost responsibility of the Department of Justice to defend the Constitution."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the ruling "an important step" in restoring women's "constitutional rights" in the Lone Star State.
Anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List was not in favor of Pitman's ruling. The group said in the statement that the ruling made by "an unelected judge" has "interfered" with the "clearly expressed will of Texans."
Although the ruling temporarily blocked the anti-abortion law, reports said the abortion services may not instantly resume as doctors still fear that they could still be sued without a more permanent legal decision.
Unlike other anti-abortion laws from other states, Senate Bill 8 allows individuals, not the state government, to file lawsuits against abortion providers who help a woman obtain an abortion. Anyone who successfully sued an abortion provider can be awarded up to $10,000.
Effects of Texas Abortion Law on Providers
Since the Texas anti-abortion law took effect, abortion providers said the impact has been exactly what they feared. According to Planned Parenthood, the number of patients in its Texas clinics declined by nearly 80 percent two weeks after the law took effect.
On the other hand, neighboring states reportedly struggled with the surge of abortion patients as some of the abortion providers in Texas were on the brink of closure.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 in May. Abbott earlier said the Texas abortion law would not slow down businesses coming to the state.
"In fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas... They are leaving the very liberal state of California," he added.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Preliminary Injunction Issued, Blocking Texas Abortion Law - From KVUE
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