A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Texas to suspend its new law banning most abortions.
U.S. District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Robert Pitman, an Obama appointee called Texas’ abortion law an “offensive deprivation” in his order.
The “heartbeat” law effectively outlaws abortions in the state after 6 weeks and also gives any citizen – including those outside Texas – the right to take legal action against anyone who ‘aids and abets’ the termination of a pregnancy after the cut off point.
Judge Pitman blasted Texas Republicans in his 113-page opinion.
“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 added.
The lawsuit was brought by Joe Biden’s Justice Department last month.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland last month said Texas’ new abortion law is “clearly unconstitutional” and warned other states against passing similar laws.
“The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent,” Garland said referring to Roe v. Wade.
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Texas to suspend the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., calling it an “offensive deprivation” of a constitutional right by banning most abortions in the nation’s second-most populous state since September.
The order by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is the first legal blow to the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8, which until now had withstood a wave of early challenges. In the weeks since the restrictions took effect, Texas abortion providers say the impact has been “exactly what we feared.”
In a 113-page opinion, Pitman took Texas to task over the law, saying Republican lawmakers had “contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme” by leaving enforcement solely in the hands of private citizens, who are entitled to collect $10,000 in damages if they bring successful lawsuits against abortion providers who violate the restrictions.
Texas officials told the court they will go to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals and ask for the order to be reversed.