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Federal judge temporarily blocks Texas abortion ban

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U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday evening that forbids Texas state court judges and clerks from accepting suits under SB 8, Politico reported.

“Despite the State’s attempts to obscure the question … people seeking abortions face irreparable harm when they are unable to access abortions; these individuals are entitled to access to abortions under the U.S. Constitution; S.B. 8 prevents access to abortion; a preliminary injunction will allow — at least for some subset of affected individuals — abortions to proceed that otherwise would not have,” Pitman wrote in his ruling.

According to Politico, Pittman told Texas’ lawyers that they had forfeited the right to a stay of the ruling because of the aggressiveness of the law and its enforcement.

The law, which had gone into effect on Sept. 1, banned abortion if a “fetal heartbeat” could be detected. That rhythm, actually a pulsing of a blood vessel and not a heart, usually occurs around at 6 weeks, before most people are even aware they are pregnant. What made the law stand out is that it allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps people obtain an abortion in any way.

Texas is appealing the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the political website reported. The appeal could be at the U.S. Supreme Court in weeks.

Until the ruling, the law had banned almost all abortions in the state. It forced many people to travel to other states for abortions. Illinois clinics were seeing Texan patients within two days of the law going into effect.

Protests against the law took place across the country the first weekend of October, with more than 20 in Illinois alone.

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