A Texas clinic resumed providing abortions on Thursday to women who are more than six weeks pregnant after a federal judge temporarily blocked a state law restricting the procedure.
In a blistering opinion, US District Judge Robert Pitman issued a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 (SB), which bans abortion after six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said he would appeal the judgeâs ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative courts in the country.
Whatever the New Orleans-based appeals court decides, the Texas law is expected to eventually end up in the Supreme Court, where conservatives hold a 6-3 majority.
Whole Womanâs Health, which operates four abortion clinics in Texas, said on Twitter that in accordance with the judgeâs ruling it had resumed providing abortions to women more than six weeks pregnant.
âSB8 left our patients with two choices: carry a pregnancy to term against their will or travel out of state to receive care,â it said. âThis ban hurt Texans and now we can help them.â
Pitman said the Texas law, which went into force on September 1, is âflagrantly unconstitutionalâ and violates the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a womanâs right to an abortion.
âFrom 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,â said the judge, an appointee of former Democratic President Barack Obama.
âThat other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right,â Pitman said.
The judgeâs order was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department seeking to prevent Texas, the second-most populous US state, from enforcing the abortion law, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest.
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