In a ruling in a lawsuit by the Department of Justice, a federal district court temporarily blocked a Texas abortion ban that ended most abortion access in the state. Judge Robert L. Pitman issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the ban while the case continues.
The law, which had been in effect since September 1, 2021, bans abortion care at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, before many know they’re pregnant. The law also incentivizes individuals to seek monetary penalties of at least $10,000 by suing anyone who provides an abortion or assists someone in obtaining one after the law’s limit.
In the ruling, Judge Pitman stated that Texas had pursued “an unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right. From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution. That 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.”
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement about the ruling, said:
“This injunction is a critical first step in restoring abortion rights and services in Texas. For 36 days, patients have been living in a state of panic, not knowing where or when they’d be able to get abortion care. The clinics and doctors we represent hope to resume full abortion services as soon as they are able, even though the threat of being sued retroactively will not be completely gone until SB 8 is struck down for good. The cruelty of this law is endless.
While we are relieved that a court has finally blocked this unconstitutional law, today’s court order is only temporary. This is not the end. We know the state of Texas will keep defending this malicious ban.”
Soon after the ruling was issued, the state of Texas filed a notice of appeal in the case.