6th October (WNN) — A federal judge on Wednesday granted a Justice Department emergency request to block Texas from enforcing its almost-complete abortion ban that it said was unconstitutional.
In his 113-page ruling, US District Judge Robert Pittman said the law in question, Senate Bill 8, was “an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme” developed by lawmakers to deny pregnant people the constitutional right to abortion.
“Ever since SB 8 came into force, women have been illegally prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways protected by the Constitution,” he said.
Pittman’s decision is expected to be widely appealed and continue the chain of litigation, which he acknowledged, adding that other judges may “find a way to avoid it” to the conclusion he came to, But “this court will not sanction another day of this “aggressive deprivation of such an important right.”
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the verdict was a victory for women and the rule of law in Texas.
“Protecting the Constitution is the highest responsibility of the Department of Justice,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to defend constitutional rights against anyone who seeks to undermine them.”
WNN has contacted the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for comment.
The law came into force in late August to ban all abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which occurs approximately 6 weeks after conception and before they know they are pregnant. The law did not allow the exception of pregnancies resulting from rape, incest or sexual abuse.
SB8 was enforced by encouraging the prosecution of any person who intended, aiding and abetting or participating in a prohibited abortion, and was designed to avoid judicial review.
The Justice Department filed suit against the ban on September 9, followed by an emergency motion on September 14 to block enforcement of the bill.
During the court proceedings, Texas requested that if the court sided with the Biden administration and issued a preliminary injunction that the law be allowed to stand if appealed by the state—a request that Pittman rejected, Stating that the state had forfeited one’s authority. housing “by pursuing an unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of an important and well-established constitutional right.”
Pittman also said that if he had not passed the initial injunction, other conservative states might be encouraged to enact similar laws, while liberal-leaning states would do so as well as “inhibiting another constitutional right.” To limit, like a right in the Second Amendment.”
“It is the court’s preliminary injunction that, if it persists, discourages the states from doing so,” he said.
Anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List rejected the decision.
“Now, an elected judge has interfered with the expressly expressed will of Texans,” SBA List President Marjorie Danenfelser said in a statement, which has prevented more than 4,700 abortions since the law took effect. “For two generations, the US Supreme Court has tied states’ hands to create laws that protect unborn children and their mothers. It is time to restore this right to the people and update our laws.”
Meanwhile, abortion providers and women’s health advocates applauded the decision.
Planned Parenthood tweeted, “It’s been 36 days since Texas denied its citizens the constitutional right to abortion.” “The relief granted by the court today is overdue.”
Whole Women’s Health said they are working to provide “the full scope of abortion care as quickly as possible”.
“This is amazing news,” the organization tweeted. “Texans have never stopped seeking abortions — we’re thrilled there’s a way to provide them.”
The ruling Supreme Court early last month rejected a request from Whole Women’s Health and others to block the enforcement in a 5-4 vote, but did not rule on the constitutionality of the law.
The Center for Reproductive Rights said those represented in the state are expected to resume services as soon as possible, with the potential to prosecute retrospectively if SB8 is not completely eliminated. Despite the threat.
“The cruelty of this law is endless,” Nancy Northup, president and chief executive officer at the center, said in a statement.
“While we are relieved that a court has finally blocked this unconstitutional law, today’s court order is only temporary,” she said. “This is not the end. We know the state of Texas will continue to defend this malicious ban.”