A U.S. judge has temporarily blocked the near-total abortion ban in Texas — one of the toughest abortion laws in the country — because it is an “offensive deprivation” of constitutional rights, The Associated Press reports.
- Texas filed an appeal and will likely seek out an emergency stay after the order in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a traditionally conservative appellate court, per The Texas Tribune.
The order, given by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, runs 113 pages. Pitman said in the opinion that Texas Republicans “contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme” by giving regular citizens the chance to enforce the law.
- “From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” wrote Pitman.
- “That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right,” he wrote.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in May. The law bans abortions when a heartbeat can be detected, which is around six weeks. In some cases, this is before women know that they are pregnant.
- Under the law — called SB8 — private citizens can collect $10,000 in damages if they can bring a successful lawsuit against abortion providers who violate the law, The Associated Press.
- The department said the bill stops “women from exercising their constitutional rights.”