The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Texas’ six-week abortion ban can remain in place while it considers an appeal of a previous ruling that blocked the enforcement of the law, bucking pleas from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The ruling allows Texas to keep The Heartbeat Act in effect, prohibiting an individual from getting an abortion once a heartbeat is detected, which usually happens around the six week mark. The law has a narrow exception window for cases in which the pregnancy could endanger the mother’s life, according to The New York Times. It does not make exceptions for rape or incest.
The 2-1 decision is the third decision to let the law stand.
Our hearts are with our @ACLUTX colleagues tonight and the people of Texas who are facing attacks across multiple fronts, especially the Black and Brown communities disproportionately impacted by bills attacking abortion rights and trans youth.
These fights aren’t over.
— ACLU (@ACLU) October 15, 2021
Abortion providers filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to block the law from taking effect. The high court, however, refused to intervene, and the law took effect Sept. 1. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Sept. 9 that the administration would sue the State of Texas over the law. (RELATED: Biden Reverses Trump Rule Blocking Federal Funds From Going To Abortion Businesses)
The DOJ then asked a federal judge to block the law, calling for a temporary restraining order or injunction and arguing that the law intends “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights.”
President Joe Biden has criticized the law as an “unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade.”
“By allowing a law to go into effect that empowers private citizens in Texas to sue health care providers, family members supporting a woman exercising her right to choose after six weeks, or even a friend who drives her to a hospital or clinic, it unleashes constitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts,” Biden said in a statement released Sept. 2.
The law allows “any person” to sue doctors, abortion clinics, or anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” Individuals who sue any of the aforementioned will be awarded $10,000 for “each abortion” the defendant performed, induced, aided, or abetted in violation of the law.