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Texas Abortion Law Enforcement Halted by Federal Judge

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A federal judge has ordered Texas to suspend the state’s new law banning most abortions, according to the Associated Press.

On Wednesday, Judge Robert Pitman of Austin, Texas explained why he believes the law is an “offensive deprivation” of constitutional rights in a 113-page opinion.

“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,” Pitman wrote in the opinion, according to the AP. “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.”

Senate Bill 8, which was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May, bans abortion once a heartbeat is detected. This can happen around six weeks into pregnancy, which is before some women even find out that they are expecting. The law also does not make any exception for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, and is enforced by private citizens, who could recover legal fees and collect $10,000 by bringing successful lawsuits to the state.

According to the New York Times, Pitman has now prevented state court judges, state court clerks and anyone acting on behalf of the state of Texas from enforcing the law. The U.S. Justice Department sued Texas over the law last month, and then filed an emergency motion to prevent the state from enforcing the law while the lawsuit ensues.

Last month, the Supreme Court voted not to block the law in a 5-4 decision.

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