Texas Asks Appeals Court to Reinstate Six-Week Abortion Ban
(Bloomberg) -- Texas asked the New Orleans federal appeals court to reinstate the state’s suspended ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, arguing that the Justice Department and a judge in Austin overstepped their authority in blocking the law.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman on Wednesday halted enforcement of the law, which forbids abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually in about the sixth week before many women realize they’re pregnant. That let some clinics begin performing abortions on women with more advanced pregnancies, which had been outlawed since the law took effect Sept. 1.
The appeals court in New Orleans is seen as a particularly hostile venue for abortion clinics, which routinely win protective orders from trial judges only to have those protections snatched away on appeal. Six of the 14 active judges on the appeals court were appointed by former president Donald Trump. They join several veteran judges who have often ruled against abortion providers in prior cases.
The Texas law, known as SB-8, was drafted to make it difficult to challenge in court by delegating enforcement to individuals, who can sue anyone who performs abortions or helps, even by simply driving a woman to an abortion clinic.
Texas asked the appeals court for a ruling to prevent a “single federal district court from superintending every Texas court” through Pitman’s order, which requires state judges and court clerks to reject all lawsuits individuals file against abortion providers or enablers.
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