A US appeals court late Friday temporarily reinstated Texas’ restrictive abortion law, which halts the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy and outsources enforcement of the ban to ordinary citizens.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, a conservative-leaning intermediate appeals court, on Friday filed a request by the Texas Attorney General’s office for a temporary suspension. Judge’s order banning abortion.
The administrative stay from the Fifth Circuit, a conservative-leaning appeals court, came in a lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice on September 9. The purpose of the administrative stay is to give the court time to determine whether to issue a more permanent ruling.
The three-judge Fifth Circuit panel gave the Justice Department until Tuesday to respond to the Texas filing. Representatives for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Texas abortion law, which took effect on September 1, makes no exceptions for pregnancies due to rape or incest. It lets ordinary citizens enforce the ban, rewarding them with a reward of at least $10,000 if they successfully sue someone who helps them perform an abortion after a fetal heart activity has been detected.
Critics of the law have said that the provision enables people to act as anti-abortion bounty hunters.
US District Judge Robert Pittman in Austin temporarily blocked the abortion ban on Wednesday while the lawsuit over its legality continues. The Justice Department has argued that the law prevents women from exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy that was recognized in the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. .
The department also argued that the law unreasonably interferes with the operation of the federal government to provide abortion-related services.
Brigitte Amiri, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “This is a very dangerous order that would allow Texas’ abortion ban to be enforced at a time when abortion providers were resuming abortion care for all patients. ” Amiri said the ACLU expects the litigation to “proceed rapidly” so the Texas abortion law could be put on hold again, potentially by the US Supreme Court.