UPDATE, 8:33 PM FRIDAY: The Texas Abortion Act has been reinstated, at least temporarily, as a federal appeals court is reviewing the decision of a lower court judge.
The law prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually after about six weeks of gestation. That essentially restricts abortions in the state.
Earlier this week, US District Judge Robert Pitman issued an injunction suspending enforcement until the law could be challenged. Pitman said the law was a “scheme” to try to circumvent court precedent. Rather than relying on state officials to enforce it, the law created a “private right of action” that allows citizens to file lawsuits against those who violated it.
The state of Texas appealed the ruling.
But a three-judge panel of the Fifth District Court of Appeals reinstated the law pending the court’s review of the appeal. The judges granted a temporary administrative stay requested by the state.
“I’ll keep fighting to keep Texas” free from federal assault, ”Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote on Twitter /
BEFORE, October 6th: A federal judge ordered Texas to end enforcement of the state’s recently introduced abortion law, the most restrictive in the country, calling it a “scheme” for circumventing court precedent.
In issuing a restraining order stopping enforcement for the time being, US District Judge Robert Pitman wrote that “a person’s right under the constitution to opt for an abortion before the fetus is viable is well established. In full awareness that it would be blatantly unconstitutional to deprive its citizens of this right through direct state action, the state has developed an unprecedented and transparent legal system to achieve just that. “
He noted that lawmakers “designed the law with the intention of precluding review by federal courts required to protect the very rights that the law is likely to violate.”
The Supreme Court last month allowed the law to go into effect in a 5-4 ruling, adding to concerns among abortion rights groups that Judges would ultimately overthrow Roe vs. Wade. The majority said they did not weigh the constitutionality of the law, but decided that abortion law advocates did not advocate stopping the law.
Texas law prohibits most abortions in the state because it prohibits abortions once a heartbeat can be detected, usually after about six weeks. That’s before many women even know they are pregnant. However, instead of using state officials to enforce it, the law created a “private right of action” that allowed citizens to bring lawsuits against those who violated it.
The restrictive law had caught the attention of many activists in Hollywood, while it was promised that filmmakers would forego filming projects in the state. David Simon, creator of The Wire, said he wouldn’t be filming an upcoming HBO project in the state, even though it’s based on events that happened there.
State attorney general Ken Paxton has not yet commented on the ruling, but Texas is expected to appeal. Pitman understood, however, that since the law went into effect “women have been illegally prevented from exercising control of their lives in ways that are protected by the constitution”.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement the ruling was “a victory for women in Texas and the rule of law. Defending the Constitution is the Ministry of Justice’s primary responsibility. We will continue to protect constitutional rights against anyone who tries to undermine them. “
Ron Klain, President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, wrote on Twitter: “It’s only the first round. But a great victory for the Biden administration – and the Constitution – tonight in federal court. “
It’s only round one. But a big win for the Biden administration – and the Constitution – tonight in federal court.https: //t.co/pOBMmv9PQH
– Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) October 7, 2021