Texas Abortion law blocked: A federal judge of the United States temporarily blocked a near-total abortion ban in Texas, calling it “offensive deprivation of women’s constitutional right”.
The action taken by the US District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin came following a challenge from US President Joe Biden’s administration. Texas has the toughest laws when it comes to abortion rights.
The judge’s response was to the lawsuits filed under the Texas Heartbeat Act, which allows private citizens to sue an abortion provider. The judge said that it will not be accepted by Texas courts.
This Republican-backed law prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Since it is temporarily blocked by the judge, the litigation over its legality continues. Although the preliminary ruling applies to all state court judges and clerks.
While calling out Texas for following an “unprecedented and aggressive scheme” the judge said that from the time the law (Texas Heartbeat Act) was in effect, women have been “unlawfully” prevented from exercising control over their lives.
What is the Texas Heartbeat Act or #SB8?
This Texas Legislature’s act was introduced as Senate Bill 8 (SB8) and House Bill 1512 on March 11, 2021. It was signed by Governor Greg Abbott on May 19 2021 and came into effect on September 1, 2021. It limits the abortion providers ability to provide abortions at any state health center.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in a statement, appreciated the ruling by Judge Pitman and called it a step forward in restoring the constitutional rights of women in the state of Texas. She added that the fight has just begun in Texas and other states in the US where women’s rights are under attack.
The judgement was on the case that sought a temporary injunction against the law–filed by Biden’s Justice Department against the state of Texas on September 9. This came after the US Supreme Court let the law take effect on September 1.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot, a Republican, defended the legality of the state’s abortion law, saying that “the most precious freedom is life itself.” Meanwhile the Justice Department argued that the law impedes women from exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, which was recognised by the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision which legalised abortion in the US.