Late on Wednesday, it was reported that a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Texas’ pro-life fetal heartbeat law, which protects children in the womb after a heartbeat can be detected.
Fox News reports:
“A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established. Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the State contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that,” U.S. District Judge Robert [Pitman], of the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, wrote in a 113-page ruling.
The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant. Rather than having the state enforce the ban, the law creates a private right of action against individuals who commit or aid and abet an abortion that violates the law – but not against the woman who undergoes the procedure.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected requests for a stay when abortion providers sought to prevent the law from going into effect until the resolution of a court dispute. The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect. The Department of Justice under… Biden then filed a motion to block the law, and [Pitman] ruled on that motion.
Judge [Pitman] ruled that Texas had “deliberately circumvented the traditional process” under the Constitution and had “drafted the law with the intent to preclude review by federal courts that have the obligation to safeguard the very rights the statute likely violates.”
Pittman claimed, “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.” He cited the allegation that abortionists in Texas ceased abortions in fear of lawsuits. “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.”
Pittman was appointed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas by former President Barack H. Obama in 2014.