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

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

Topline

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the Texas law that bans nearly all abortions in the state, a move that restricts the state from enforcing the nation’s most restrictive abortion law while the legal battle over it makes its way through the federal courts.

Key Facts

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman called the law an “offensive deprivation” of an important constitutional right as he enjoined the State of Texas or anyone acting on its behalf from enforcing the law.

Pitman also ordered state judges and state court clerks who had the power to enforce or administer the law not to do so.

Wednesday’s ruling is the first legal blow to the Texas law as Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8) which had until now withstood early challenges.

State officials immediately notified the court that it will appeal Wednesday’s ruling in the conservative-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is unclear if the suspension of the law will have any impact on abortions in the state as S.B. 8 contains a quirk that people who violate it—even while it is being temporarily blocked—could be liable to litigation later if it is reinstated.

Crucial Quote

“From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” Pitman wrote in his ruling.

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