A federal judge temporarily blocked on Wednesday a near-total ban on abortion in Texas, the toughest such law in the United States, following a challenge from President Joe Biden’s administration after the U.S. Supreme Court let it proceed.
The action by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin prevents the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law, which prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, while litigation over its legality continues. “This Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right,” Pitman said in the ruling.
“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 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,” she added.
Planned Parenthood said the preliminary injunction means lawsuits filed under the law cannot be accepted by Texas courts. “The relief granted by the court today is overdue, and we are grateful that the Department of Justice moved quickly to seek it,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has defended the legality of the state’s abortion law, with this office saying in a statement: “The most precious freedom is life itself.”
Will Thompson, an attorney in the Texas Attorney General’s Office, countered the department’s arguments, saying there were plenty of opportunities for people in Texas to challenge the law on their own. He said the department’s arguments were filled with “hyperbole and inflammatory rhetoric.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNBC
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