On Wednesday the Biden administration’s request to temporarily block Texas’s heartbeat abortion law was granted by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman. Pitman also denied the state’s request to put his ruling on pause pending an appeal.
Pitman cited the Constitution and said “this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.” The heartbeat law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually around 6 weeks of pregnancy. The bill also allows private citizens to sue providers that perform abortions after the detection of a heartbeat.
Pitman’s ruling was handed down in a 113-page ruling writing, “A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established…Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the State contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that.”
NOW: A federal judge has blocked enforcement of SB 8, Texas's 6-week abortion ban, and denied Texas's request to pause his ruling pending appeal.
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) October 7, 2021
Biden’s Justice Department sought a temporary injunction against the law, suing the state of Texas on September 9 arguing the law violates the U.S. Constitution. Justice Department attorney Brian Netter said the law was an “unprecedented scheme of vigilante justice.”
However, when it came to the Supreme Court, the Justices declined to block the law in a 5-4 decision for lack of “procedural thresholds.” In an unsigned majority, the five justices wrote, “The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue. But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden.”
“(T)his order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including Texas state courts” added the majority.