A Texas federal judge on Wednesday (October 7) temporarily blocked a controversial law banning the majority of abortions in that state, in a lawsuit filed by the Biden government that immediately hailed a ” Victoire “ for Texans.
→ THE CONTEXT. Texas bans abortion from fetal first heartbeat
“This court will not allow this shocking deprivation of such an important right to continue one more day”, wrote Judge Robert Pitman in his decision, which the State of Texas can appeal. Texas can temporarily no longer enforce the law, supported by Republicans, according to the ruling.
“A victory for women”
US Justice Minister Merrick Garland spoke in a statement to“A victory for women in Texas and for the rule of law”. “We will continue to protect the constitutional rights of all those who seek to undermine them”.
→ READ. Texas: why did the Supreme Court not suspend the anti-abortion law?
Texas law, which came into effect on September 1, prohibits abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected – around six weeks pregnant, when most women don’t know they’re pregnant. It does not provide for an exception in the event of incest or rape, but only in the event of a medical emergency.
In recent years, comparable laws have been passed by a dozen other conservative states and struck down in court because they violate the jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court. This guarantees the right of women to have an abortion as long as the fetus is not viable, ie around 22 weeks of pregnancy.
The “battle” is “far from over”
But the text of Texas has a unique device: it confides “Exclusively” it is up to citizens to ensure that the measure is respected by encouraging them to file a complaint against organizations or people who help women to have illegal abortions.
The Supreme Court, where the Conservative justices have a clear majority, invoked these “New questions of procedure” to refuse, a month ago, to block the law as requested by defenders of the right to abortion. The federal government then entered the legal arena, invoking its interest in upholding the constitutional rights of Americans.
“For over a month, Texans have been denied access to abortion because of an unconstitutional law that should never have come into force”Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, responded in a statement. Alexis McGill Johnson said he hoped this decision would allow clinics to resume performing abortions, while recalling that ” the battle “ was “Far from over”.
→ EXPLANATION. United States: Supreme Court in minefield
The group of abortion opponents Susan B. Anthony List denounced the decision of“An unelected judge” while “The people of Texas have spoken through their elected officials and want to protect babies with beating hearts”.
Democratic President Joe Biden promised in September “An immediate response” of his government, to whom he had ordered to find “Measures to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortion”.