After the Justice Department asked a federal judge to grant a temporary injunction that would prevent Texas from enacting a law that bans nearly all abortions in the state, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Pitman agreed to the state’s request to hear arguments before ruling. If the restraining order is granted, the law’s implementation will be blocked as court proceedings unfold.
The request came less than a week after the Biden administration sued Texas in an attempt to block the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy and allows private citizens to take legal action against anyone who helps someone terminate their pregnancy. A Texas federal judge set a hearing date for for Oct. 1, and the law will continue to take effect for the next two weeks, unless Pitman issues a preliminary injunction.
“The United States seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 8,” the department said. “This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact. It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 purports to prohibit.”
In Tuesday’s emergency filing, the department argued that Texas had devised “an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court. This attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand.“