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Texas abortion ban back in effect

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A federal appeals court froze a judge’s block on Texas’ abortion ban on Friday, allowing the law to go back into effect.

The Texas Tribune reported that a panel of 5th Circuit justices restored enforcement of the law hours after Texas asked the court to step into a lawsuit that the U.S. Justice Department filed against the state. The online newspaper said enforcement is allowed until at least Tuesday when the Justice Department will respond. Then the court will decide whether to allow enforcement or let the block stand while the case works through the court system.

The law, which bans abortion if there is a fetal heartbeat, went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to act on an emergency appeal by local abortion providers. Experts say the heartbeat is actually the electric flickering of blood vessels that haven’t formed a heart. The Tribune reported that it would affect at least 85% of the abortions taking place in the state. Many people don’t know they are pregnant within the first six weeks.

Protests took place across the country, including at least 20 in Illinois. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul also joined in a brief objecting to the law.

Abortions had been performed after the block earlier in the week. The stay puts those abortion providers at risk again.

“We do understand that it does open us up to some risk. We have to wait and see,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, told the Tribune. “We have a lot of lawyers on speed dial these days.”

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