After a Federal Appeal Court sided with Texas officials and suspended an earlier court decision that blocked it, a Texas law prohibiting most abortions remains in force.
Three-member 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. After six weeks, the law bans abortions.
Federal officials are expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The Supreme Court previously permitted the law to take effect, but declined to interfere at Texas’ request.
The Justice Department refused to comment on the most recent ruling.
Continue reading:Texas’s restrictive abortion law was temporarily restored by a federal appeals court
Texas has the strictest law in the United States and is home to a special enforcement clause that is central to the ongoing legal battle.
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. A successful litigant can receive at most $10,000
The law was sued by the federal government in September. Weeks later, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an Obama appointee in Austin, blocked the law from going into effect.
Continue reading:Texas bans most abortions by federal judge
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, and his attorneys on staff, have claimed that the state isn’t responsible for the enforcement of the law. Therefore, they cannot be sued.
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. Providers could be sued for any abortions that were performed in violation of a temporary court order.
Two days after the law was blocked, the 5th Circuit, responding to an appeal filed by the state, 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.
Continue reading:Texas Judge blocks new law that allows abortions after 6 weeks.
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