Judge Orders Texas To Suspend New Law Banning Most Abortions – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A federal judge has ordered Texas to suspend the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, calling it an “offensive deprivation” of a constitutional right by banning most abortions in the United States. second most populous state in the country since September.
Order Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is the first legal blow to Texas law known as Senate Bill 8, which until now had withstood a wave of early challenges. In the weeks after the restrictions went into effect, Texas abortion providers say the impact has been “exactly what we feared.”
But abortion services in Texas might not immediately resume, even though the law is on hold, as doctors still fear prosecution without a more permanent legal decision. Texas officials promptly informed the court of their intention to seek an overturn from the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals, which had previously allowed the restrictions to take effect. Planned Parenthood said it hopes the order will allow clinics to resume abortion services as soon as possible.
In a 113-page opinion, Pitman rebuked Texas over the law, saying Republican lawmakers had “put in place an unprecedented and transparent legislative regime” by leaving enforcement only in the hands of private citizens, who are entitled to $ 10,000 in damages if they successfully sue abortion providers who violate the restrictions.
“Since the entry into force of SB 8, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in a constitutionally protected manner,” wrote Pitman, who was appointed judge by former President Barack. Obama.
“It is up to them to decide that other courts can find a way to avoid this conclusion; this Court will not sanction one more day this injurious deprivation of such an important right.
The the lawsuit was brought by the Biden administration, who said the restrictions were enacted in defiance of the U.S. Constitution. Attorney General Merrick Garland called the order a “victory for women in Texas and for the rule of law.”
The law had been in force since September 1.
“For over a month now, Texans have been denied access to abortion due to an unconstitutional law that should never have come into effect. The remedy granted by the court today is overdue, and we are grateful that the Department of Justice acted quickly to request it, ”said Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America .
Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, said the order was not unexpected.
“It’s ultimately the legacy of Roe v. Wade, that you have militant judges bending over backwards, bending precedents, bending the law, to meet the needs of the abortion industry,” he said. said Kimberlyn Schwartz, spokesperson for the group. “These militant judges will first create their conclusion: that abortion is a so-called constitutional right, and then work backwards from there. “
Abortion providers say their fears have come true in the short time the law came into effect. Family planning says that the number of patients of Texas in its state clinics fell nearly 80% in the two weeks after the law came into effect.
Some providers have said clinics in Texas are now at risk of shutting down as neighboring states struggle to keep up with a influx of patients who must travel hundreds of kilometers. Other women, they say, are forced to carry their pregnancies to term.
Other states, mostly in the South, have passed similar laws banning abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy, all of which judges have blocked. A 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prevented states from banning abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks gestation.
But the Texas version has so far defied the courts because it leaves the execution to private citizens to sue, not prosecutors, which critics say amounts to a bounty.
“It’s not some sort of self-defense ploy,” said Will Thompson, attorney for the Texas attorney general’s office, while defending the law with Pitman last week. “This is a ploy that uses the normal and legal process of justice in Texas.”
The Texas law is just the one that has set up the biggest test of abortion rights in the United States in decades, and it’s part of a larger push by Republicans nationwide to impose new restrictions on abortion.
Monday, Supreme Court of the United States started a new term, which in December will include arguments in Mississippi’s attempt to overthrow Landmark Roe v. Wade of 1973 guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion.
Last month, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of Texas law by allowing it to remain in place. But abortion providers took the 5-4 vote as a worrying sign of where the abortion court might go after its Tory majority was bolstered by three people named by former President Donald Trump .
Ahead of the Supreme Court’s new term, Planned Parenthood released a report on Friday indicating that if Roe v. Wade was canceled, 26 states would be ready to ban abortion. This year alone, nearly 600 abortion restrictions were introduced in state houses nationwide, more than 90 of which have become laws, according to Planned Parenthood.
Texas officials have argued in court records that even if the law were temporarily suspended, providers could still face the threat of litigation for violations that could arise between a permanent decision.
At least one Texas abortion provider has admitted to breaking the law and has been sued – but not by abortion opponents. Former Illinois and Arkansas lawyers said they sued a San Antonio doctor in hopes of getting a judge to strike down the law.
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