Federal judge blocks Texas abortion law

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a controversial Texas law banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman's ruling said, "A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established." It added that "depriving citizens of this right" would be "flagrantly unconstitutional."

The order follows the Biden administration's challenge to the ban and will temporarily cease the most restrictive abortion law in the country, which the Supreme Court narrowly allowed to take effect about a month ago. 

The order followed the Biden administration's challenge to the ban, which the Supreme Court narrowly allowed to take effect about a month ago. 

The order noted that Texas requested that the state be allowed to appeal the injunction before it takes effect.

"The State has forfeited the right to any such accommodation by pursuing an unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right," Pitman wrote. 

"That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide;" he added, "this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right."

Officials in Texas are expected to appeal the order in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8, or SB8, has prohibited most abortions in Texas since September. Specifically, it banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected, which typically takes place around six weeks — and before some women know they are pregnant. 

Despite the order, some say that abortions may not resume as providers fear legal repercussions in the absence of a more long-term ruling, according to The Associated Press.

"While we are relieved that a court has finally blocked this unconstitutional law, today’s court order is only temporary," Nancy Northup, president & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. "This is not the end. We know the state of Texas will keep defending this malicious ban.”

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