On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against the Biden administration Justice Department, asserting that Texas’ heartbeat abortion law can remain in place.
“The court issued a 2–1 order siding with the state of Texas, refusing the Justice Department’s request to reinstate an earlier court ruling that had blocked enforcement of the law. The order was backed by Judges James C. Ho, who was nominated by Donald Trump, and Catharina Haynes, who was nominated by George W. Bush. Judge Carl E. Stewart, a nominee of Bill Clinton, dissented,” National Review reported, adding, “Thursday’s decision comes after the same panel last week issued a temporary decision to reinstate the law after a federal judge in Austin temporarily halted the ban.”
After the law was passed in Texas, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman approved the Biden administration’s request to temporarily block the law; he also refused permission for Texas to pause his ruling pending appeal. Pitman wrote, “From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their own lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution. … This Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted, “We disagree with the Court’s decision and have already taken steps to immediately appeal it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The sanctity of human life is, and will always be, a top priority for me.”
After Pitmen’s ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court reinstated the law pending further review.
In September the Supreme Court refused to block the law but did not rule on whether the law was constitutional.“The court’s decision sets up a potentially historic win for the pro-life movement by overturning Supreme Court precedents set in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, according to The Washington Free Beacon,” The Daily Wire noted, adding:
The court’s conservative majority rejected the abortion providers’ request because of the law’s enforcement mechanism, which separates it from “heartbeat” laws passed in other states. The law deputizes private citizens, granting them standing to file lawsuits against violating abortion providers rather than authorizing state agents to police them. The court dismissed the request, which names every state court judge and clerk as defendants, based on procedural grounds.
The Daily Wire reported on October 9:
The law bans almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at around six weeks of pregnancy. It does not make exceptions for abortions in cases of rape and incest, and the only time the law does permit abortions is when the life of the mother is at stake or the pregnancy could cause “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” In addition, the Texas law allows private citizens to launch civil lawsuits against anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. At least one such lawsuit has already been filed.
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