On Wednesday, a US federal judge issued a decision to temporarily suspend a law imposing severe restrictions on abortions in the state of Texas, based on an appeal by the administration of President Joe Biden against the controversial law.
“This court will not allow this appalling denial of a right of such importance to continue for one day,” Judge Robert Pittman wrote in his ruling, which the Texas government can appeal.
In a 113-page opinion, Pittman took on the task of challenging Texas over the law, saying Republican lawmakers had “constructed a clear and unprecedented legal scheme” to deny patients their constitutional right to abortion.
“From the moment the law came into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways protected by the Constitution,” Bateman wrote. He added, “Other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion, and that remains up to them, but this court will not accept this abusive denial of this important right one day.”
But even with the law suspended, abortion services in Texas may not immediately resume because doctors still fear they could be sued without a permanent legal decision.
A Texas law bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy, but most women may not be aware that they are pregnant at this early stage of their pregnancy. Also, the law does not provide for any exceptions if the pregnancy was the result of incest or rape, but only in the case of a medical emergency.
Last September, the Biden administration challenged the law in court.
The US Supreme Court has guaranteed the right of a woman to voluntarily terminate her pregnancy as long as the fetus is unable to survive outside the womb, that is, until about 22 weeks of pregnancy. But the court refused to consider the law passed by Texas, citing “procedural issues”.
On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Washington, carrying banners with slogans such as “My Body, My Choice, My Right”, as part of the “Women’s March” aimed at countering an unprecedented campaign by conservatives against abortion.