The Texas law that bans most abortions has not been repealed is in full effect. A federal appeals court agreed with Texas officials again and suspended the lower court’s ruling which had stopped it.

Three-judge panel from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 late Thursday, refusing a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to allow a lower court ruling blocking enforcement of the Texas law to stand. This law forbids abortions within six weeks after the gestation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted his celebration, calling the decision “a victory in life!”

Anthony Coley, spokesperson for the Justice Department said the department plans to appeal Thursday’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. This court, which allowed the law’s implementation by not intervening at Texas abortion providers’ request, previously permitted it to take effect.

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“The Justice Department intends to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the preliminary injunction against Texas Senate Bill 8,” Coley said.

Texas’ law is one of the most restrictive and controversial in the country. It also includes an unusual enforcement provision, which is at the heart of ongoing legal battles.

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Senate Bill 8 prevents the government from enforce the ban. Instead, any individual can sue the abortion providers and those who assist or aid in the violation of law. The minimum amount that a successful litigant could collect is $10,000

The federal government sued the state over the ban on Sept. 9, a little more than a week after it took effect. On Oct. 6, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an Obama appointee in Austin, blocked the law from going into effect.

In this Oct. 2, 2021 file Cindy Gomez, of Austin, attends the Women's March ATX rally, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas. A federal judge has ordered Texas to suspend a new law that has banned most abortions in the state since September. The order Wednesday, Oct. 6, by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman freezes for now the strict abortion law known as Senate Bill 8.

Tens of thousands gathered at Austin Capitol to call for lawmakers to reconsider recent abortion legislation.

In his 113-page decision, Pitman said the Texas law is an “offensive deprivation of such an important right” and creates an “unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme,” allowing the state to skirt traditional avenues of judicial review.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued with his lawyers that the state does not have responsibility for enforcement and cannot therefore be subject to a law suit.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott delivered the keynote address at the Texas Values policy forum at the Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas on Sept. 24, 2021. As part of the address, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law in front of the crowd, which banned "mail-in abortions," like mail-order drugs and prevents physicians from prescribing abortion drugs to women more than seven weeks pregnant.

Pitman’s decision led to at least one state abortion provider offering services that violated the law. However, there were concerns about potential future liability. For abortions done under temporary court orders that block the law, providers can still face litigation.

Two days after the law was blocked, the 5th Circuit, among the most conservative appellate courts in the nation, issued an emergency order restoring the law. While oral arguments are being heard in the underlying suit, Thursday’s more formal decision will be upheld.

Brigitte Amiri, assistant director at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said that “time and time again”, the 5th Circuit allowed unconstitutional restrictions on abortion to take effect. SB 8 is no exception.

“It’s outrageous but unsurprising that the Fifth Circuit has once again denied Texans their fundamental reproductive rights,” she said in a statement. “We hope the Department of Justice urgently appeals this order to the Supreme Court to restore Texans’ ability to obtain abortion care after six weeks in pregnancy and we hope the Supreme Court will put an end to harms this law is causing.”

Learn more:It was difficult to get an abortion when you were transgender. Texas made it even more difficult


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