Texas abortion law is temporarily halted by a judge
A contentious new law in Texas has been temporarily halted by a US judge, virtually prohibiting women from getting abortions in the state. District Judge Robert Pitman granted the Biden administration’s plea to keep the statute from being enforced while its validity is contested.
The verdict was hailed by the White House as a significant step toward restoring women’s constitutional rights.
Judge Pitman of Austin noted in a 113-page judgement that “women have been illegally barred from exercising control over their lives in ways that are guaranteed by the Constitution” since the law took effect on September 1.
Whole Woman’s Health, which operates a number of facilities in Texas, announced that abortions would be resumed “as soon as possible.”
The anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life accused the judges of “pandering to the abortion business” and demanded a “fair hearing” in the next round.
This is Texas’ first judicial loss since the law went into effect, and the state swiftly appealed Judge Pitman’s decision.
After the conservative-majority Supreme Court declined to stop Texas from adopting the law, President Joe Biden’s administration filed legal action. The Department of Justice has filed an emergency motion to halt the law’s enforcement while it pursues legal action.
The “Heartbeat Act” prohibits abortions after the finding of what anti-abortion activists refer to as a foetal heartbeat, which medical experts claim is misleading. This effectively prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when the majority of women are unaware that they are pregnant.
It is enforced by allowing anyone, whether from Texas or overseas, to sue doctors who perform abortions after six weeks. It does not, however, allow the women who undergo the operation to be sued.
According to legal experts, the law includes a provision that states that clinics and doctors may still be held accountable for abortions performed while an emergency injunction is in force. However, it is uncertain whether that provision will be enforced, and Judge Pitman stated in his judgement that it is “of questionable constitutionality.”