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 that “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 came in response to the Biden administration’s emergency request to prevent Texas from enforcing the law as the court considers a Justice Department lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. The Supreme Court narrowly allowed it to take effect about a month ago.

The order from Pitman 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 has prohibited most abortions in Texas since September. Specifically, it banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically takes place around six weeks — and before some women know they are pregnant.

Whole Woman’s Health, a network of abortion clinics that operates in Texas, said it would resume abortions after up to 18 weeks of pregnancy “as soon as possible,” according to 19th News.

Prior to Pitman’s order, some speculated that abortions may still 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 and 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.”

The Hill has reached out to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott‘s (R) office for comment.

Via The Hill