A federal appeals court rejected a request from Texas abortion clinics to return their challenge against the state’s controversial abortion ban, leaving in place the strictest ban in the country.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily transferred the case to the Republican-controlled Texas Supreme Court in a 2-to-1 decision, according to The Washington Post, postponing the decision for months. 

The move will allow the Texas abortion ban, which has led to a large reduction in abortions in the state, to remain in place.

The ban restricts access to abortion after about six weeks into pregnancy, when a lot of women do not know they're pregnant yet.

“This court reasonably seeks the Texas Supreme Court’s final word on the matter,” wrote Judge Edith Jones, joined by Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, nominees of former Presidents Reagan and Trump, respectively. 

However, Judge Stephen Higginson disagreed with his colleagues' "second-guessing redundancy" and said the situation "deepens my concern that justice delayed is justice denied, here impeding relief ordered by the Supreme Court," according to the Post.

Abortion providers said that the latest decision is a tactic to delay the law from being discussed.

The news comes after a December Supreme Court procedural ruling effectively prolonged efforts by the abortion providers to block the law. 

The controversial issue has also crossed state lines, with the Supreme Court discussing a Mississippi abortion ban that bars the procedure after 15 weeks. The debate has led conservative judges to hint at their support for overturning Roe v. Wade.

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