A federal appeals court in New Orleans on Friday authorized Texas to reinstate a controversial law that bans most abortions in the US state.
This law, which came into effect on September 1, prohibits abortion once a fetus ‘heartbeat is detected, around six weeks’ gestation, when most women still do not know they are pregnant. The law had been temporarily blocked by a federal judge in Texas, following a complaint from the Joe Biden government.
The decision comes as several clinics in Texas resumed the practice of abortions after state law took effect in September.
In a strict tone, Federal District Judge Robert Pitman issued a preliminary order Wednesday night to halt enforcement of Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 (SB8), which bans abortion after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said he would appeal the judge’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative courts in the country, which ultimately agreed with him.
Regardless of this decision, the Texas law is expected to end up in the Supreme Court, where Conservatives have a 6-3 majority.
According to Pitman, the Texas law, which took effect on September 1, is “flagrantly unconstitutional” and violates the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade case, which in 1973 guaranteed the right to abortion until the fetus is viable outside the uterus; around 22 weeks of pregnancy.
“Since SB8 came into force, women have been illegally prevented from exercising control of their lives in the way that they are protected by the Constitution,” said the magistrate who was appointed to the post by Democratic President Barack Obama.
His order was issued in response to a lawsuit by the Department of Justice that sought to prevent Texas, the second most populous state in the country, from enforcing its restrictive law that makes no exceptions even for rape or incest cases.
Other Republican-ruled states have passed restrictive abortion laws but were struck down in court because they violated the precedent in the Roe v. Wade case.
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