A federal judge on Wednesday granted the Justice Department’s request to halt enforcement of the recent Texas law that bans abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy while the legal battle over the statute makes its way through the federal courts.
In his 113-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Pitman sided with the Biden administration, which had sued to halt the strict abortion law that provoked significant backlash from across the nation. Judge Pitman’s order forbids state court judges and court clerk from accepting lawsuits filed by private citizens against abortion providers and anyone involved in aiding or or abetting an abortion.
“From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their own lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” he wrote in his opinion. “This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.”
Pitman also ordered the state to publish his order on all “public-facing court websites with a visible, easy-to-understand instruction to the public that S.B. 8 lawsuits will not be accepted by Texas courts.”
In a press release, the ACLU of Texas pointed to the uncertainty surrounding how Wednesday’s order will affect women in the state, as many clinics have expressed hesitation about when they might resume full activity.
“Though the court’s ruling offers a sigh of relief, the threat of Texas’ abortion ban still looms over the state as cases continue to move through the courts. We already know the politicians behind this law will stop at nothing until they’ve banned abortion entirely,” Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said in a statement. “This fight is far from over, and we’re ready to do everything we can to make sure every person can get the abortion care they need regardless of where they live or how much they make.”