Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a piece of legislation that bans abortion once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Known as S.B. 8, it allows anyone who participates in an abortion other than the baby’s mother to be sued.
The law was vilified by many on the left, with the Biden administration announcing plans to challenge it in court. However, those plans hit a serious roadblock on Friday after judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals ruled against the bill’s opponents, Newsmax reports.
“It is ordered that Appellant’s emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal is temporarily held in abeyance pending further order by this motions panel,” the appeals court decision stated.
Texas AG fights
The ruling added that lawyers with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to provide their response to the order.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is defending S.B. 8, and he celebrated the news in a tweet. Paxton promised that he would “fight federal overreach at every turn.”
The Fifth Circuit panel ruling came just two days after Fox News reported that an Obama-appointed federal judge issued a 113-page ruling that condemned Texas’ heartbeat bill as an “offensive deprivation.”
“A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established,” U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman said.
That was a reference to the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking to abort prior to viability. Babies are generally considered viable at 24 weeks but some have survived earlier, as Today reported.
“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,” Judge Pitman complained.
He added: “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.”
Pitman was particularly critical of a provision of S.B. that made it enforceable only through lawsuits filed by private actors rather than government officials, a feature that left opponents unclear on who they should sue.
The liberal federal judge accused Texas lawmakers of having “deliberately circumvented the traditional process” of challenging laws by creating legislation “with the intent to preclude review by federal courts that have the obligation to safeguard the very rights the statute likely violates.”