A federal judge who was appointed by former President Obama blocked Texas’s new abortion law by giving a preliminary injunction this Wednesday evening in a lawsuit put forward by the Biden administration.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman ruled “that Texas, including its officials, officers, agents, employees, and any other entities acting on its behalf” are temporarily prevented from enforcing the S.B.8., otherwise called the Texas Heartbeat Act.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, which was issued by Texas and signed into law in May by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, went into effect on Sept. 1. The law prevents abortions in the state the moment a heartbeat is heard, which often happens after six weeks.
Texas is the first state to create this type of abortion law. The law is different from previous efforts in that anyone can sue an abortion provider who murders an unborn child after six weeks, and anyone can sue anyone who helps in an illegal abortion. The person sued must pay the person suing at least $10,000 for each illegal abortion they do or help with.
On Sept. 1, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 not to stop the law while legal challenges continue in lower courts. A small majority of justices ruled that the abortion-provider plaintiffs did not meet the high standard needed for the Supreme Court to give an injunction blocking the law before it went into effect.
Abortion providers have said that the law heavily lowered abortion access and goes against the Supreme Court precedent which was set by Roe v. Wade in 1973. Woke celebs and liberal politicians alike have showed outrage at the new pro-life law and said it was an attempt by conservatives to control women’s bodies. Pro-life groups, in contrast, have celebrated the Heartbeat Act for protecting the personhood of children.
Although Pitman is a liberal judge, his decision will now be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, widely thought to be the most conservative court in the country, so the ruling is expected to be reversed soon.
Author: Scott Dowdy