The Senate Bill 8 law is poised to challenge the legal thinking of law makers in Texas over thr divisive issue.
Wednesday’s ruling, which stems from a challenge brought by the Biden administration, will prevent the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law while litigation over its legality is in process.
“Tonight’s ruling is an important step forward toward restoring the constitutional rights of women across the state of Texas,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in statement late on Wednesday. “The fight has only just begun, both in Texas and in many states across this country where women’s rights are currently under attack.”
The law, signed by Republican governor Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once cardiac activity is detected, estimated to be six week.
The Texas law empowered private citizens to file lawsuits against violators, and entitled them to at least $10,000 in damages if successful.
“A state may not ban abortions at six weeks. Texas knew this, but it wanted a six-week ban anyway, so the state resorted to an unprecedented scheme of vigilante justice that was designed to scare abortion providers and others who might help women exercise their constitutional rights,” said Brian Netter, justice department attorney, to the federal court on Friday.
Judge Robert Pitman accused Republicans lawmakers of contriving an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme” to deny patients their constitutional right to an abortion.
“From the moment SB8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the constitution,” wrote Pitman, who was appointed to the bench by Barack Obama.
“That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this court will not sanction one more.
While the law prohibiting abortions is put on hold, abortion ckinics have not resumed for fear of legal consequences , since the block has been emphasised to be temporary.