Texas abortion ban: US judge puts temporary halt on 'unlawful' law

A US judge has temporarily put Texas law restricting abortions on halt as deprivation of such a vital privilege is reprehensible.

Texas law restricting abortions temporarily on halt
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Texas law restricting abortions temporarily on halt

In the first blow to legislation considered extreme even by conservative standards, a US federal judge has temporarily stopped a Texas bill that severely restricts access to abortions in the state.

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On Wednesday, US District Judge Robert Pitman ordered Texas to stop enforcing the law, which prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, when many women are unaware, they are pregnant, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Pitman stated in his ruling that the Texas statute has been in effect since 1 September. He said:

Women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the constitution... This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.

Initial victory for Biden administration

The judgment is a first success for the Biden administration, which had challenged the restrictive statute in the hopes of preventing other states from enacting similar legislation. It also believes that the battle to overturn Roe vs Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the country, would intensify.

Individuals, rather than the state, are allowed to denounce persons to authorities for assisting women with abortions, with the possibility of receiving at least a $10,000 reward. The structure of the law has been regarded by experts as an attempt to get around Supreme Court precedents that prevent states from prohibiting abortions before the fetus achieves viability. Pitman wrote in his decision that:

Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the state [of Texas] contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that.

Restoring women’s right

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said in a statement late Wednesday that the verdict was an essential step toward restoring Texas women's constitutional rights. She said:

The fight has only just begun, both in Texas and in many states across this country where women’s rights are currently under attack.

Texas alerted the court shortly after Pitman's decision that it wanted to appeal the order to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is known to be conservative. Given the temporary nature of the suspension and the lack of clarity on how Texas would respond to the judgment, the ruling's impact is unknown.

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