A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of Texas’ extremely controversial new abortion ban.
The pause on the ban granted an emergency request made by the Justice Department. The department sought preliminary injunction after it filed a lawsuit against Texas over the abortion law. The request to freeze enforcement pleaded that the ban could not be enforced until the lawsuit was heard.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman said that from the moment the abortion ban went into effect last month, “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,” Pitman said in his 113-page ruling.
The sweeping abortion ban, known as SB 8, bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is before the majority of women know they are pregnant. If offers no exceptions for incest, sexual abuse or rape.
Experts in constitutional law have said the law is unconstitutional, and experts in women’s rights have labeled the law as an attempt to roll back the rights of women in America. The Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect after a 5-4 vote to decline to act, denying requests to block the law.
The judge’s ruling marks the first legal setback for Texas since the Abortion law was implemented. Next up is the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state arguing that the law is unconstitutional.
The DOJ has argued that SB 8 violates the Supremacy Clause and the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, and violates a Supreme Court precedent.
Furthermore, it details how the bill’s means of enforcement allowing private citizens to bring civil suits against individuals who help someone get an abortion to collect at least $10,000 if successful, effectively turning citizens into bounty hunters against abortions seekers and providers.
This roundabout way to bring the law into effect is seen as a backdoor attempt to unravel Roe v Wade, because the enforcement is an attempt to step past judicial review.
Pitman labeled the ban as “flagrantly unconstitutional,” and said Texas had contrived this unprecedented scheme to sidestep the constitution.