A federal judge has issued an order temporarily blocking implementation of Texas’ Heartbeat Bill. Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB8) prohibits abortions in the state after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected, which generally occurs around week six of pregnancy.
Almost immediately, abortionists have begun the process of resuming abortions in Texas.
Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a preliminary injunction on October 6, calling SB8 “an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme.”
“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,” said Judge Pitman. “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.”
It’s unusual for a judge to write in such a highly charged and derisive tone against one of the parties in a case.
However, Judge Pitman is correct in calling SB8 “unprecedented.”
The heartbeat bill was the first piece of legislation that successfully prohibited abortions pre-viability since the U.S. Supreme Court first decreed abortion to be legalized nationwide in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
The legislature did this in a unique way by empowering citizens to sue abortionists for every abortion they performed. Every other pro-life law prior had only authorized state officials to do so.
Nancy Northup, the president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that clinics her group represents “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 S.B. 8 is struck down for good.”
And Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four abortion clinics in Texas, said the judge’s ruling was “amazing news.”
“Texans never once stopped seeking abortions – we’re thrilled there is a path to provide them,” the abortion mill tweeted.
Whole Woman’s Health added that it was “working with our staff and doctors to resume providing the full scope of abortion care as soon as possible.”
SB8 was credited with saving upwards of 100 lives each day after it took effect on September 1.
Notably, Judge Pitman’s ruling comes just two days after the Texas Supreme Court sided against Planned Parenthood, which had asked the court to permit its lawsuit against SB8 to move forward.
There are multiple lawsuits against SB8 ongoing.
Judge Pitman’s decision came in the case filed by the United States Department of Justice against the state of Texas over the bill.
“Today’s ruling enjoining the Texas law is a victory for women in Texas and for the rule of law,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “It is the foremost responsibility of the Department of Justice to defend the Constitution. We will continue to protect constitutional rights against all who would seek to undermine them.”
The state of Texas has already filed a notice of appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is viewed as one of the more conservative of the country’s 13 appellate courts.
Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, said that he expects the 5th Circuit to quickly “put the trial court judgement on hold.”
This means that the district court’s ruling won’t be the last word in this case. There’s also a decent chance that, following the 5th Circuit’s determination, the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Just last month, the nation’s highest court ruled 5-4 against putting SB8 on hold while the law is considered by the lower courts.
Please pray for wisdom for the judges on the 5th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, and that SB8 soon be able to continue to save lives in Texas.
The case is United States of America v. Texas.
Photo from Shutterstock.