Texas abortion law halted

October 7, 2021
Texas abortion law halted

… this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman temporarily suspending a new Texas abortion law – the most restrictive in the nation.
  • The Texas law (S.B. 8) prohibits an abortion after a heartbeat can be detected – usually around 6 weeks or so in a pregnancy.
  • The enforcement mechanism of this law makes it unique – allowing private citizens to sue if they learn of someone performing or aiding an abortion after this time period.
  • The judge said that Texas “contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme,” but attorneys for the state defended the law: “This is not some kind of vigilante scheme. This is a scheme that uses the normal, lawful process of justice in Texas.”
  • The Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal by abortion providers before the law went into effect on September 1. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the law but instead raised questions on how the law would be enforced.
  • The Justice Department sued the state and requested the law be halted; Judge Pitman is ruling on this request. Texas says it will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (where a previous ruling upheld the law).
  • Why This Matters: The ruling by this federal judge picks up the pace for a legal showdown in the Supreme Court.

Judge orders Texas to suspend new law banning most abortions

EXPLAINER: The Texas abortion law’s swift impact, and future

by Jenna Lee,