An American flag waves outside the US Department of Justice Building in Washington. File/Reuters
A US appeals court on Friday temporarily reinstated Texas's near-total ban on abortion, two days after another court suspended the ban, dealing a setback to abortion rights advocates and the Biden administration.
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, an intermediate appeals court, said it was putting on hold a lower court ruling from Oct. 6 that blocked the abortion law.
The decision by the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily set aside Wednesday's ruling, effectively reinstating a ban on most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks.
The administrative stay from the Fifth Circuit, a conservative-leaning appeals court, came in a lawsuit brought by the US Justice Department on Sept. 9. The purpose of the administrative stay is to give the court time to determine whether to issue a more permanent ruling.
Anti-abortion advocates hold signs as they stand in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington. File/AFP
In a blistering opinion, Pitman called the Texas law "flagrantly unconstitutional," saying it violated the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a woman's legal right to an abortion.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, quickly appealed that decision and the appeal was granted Friday evening.
"Great news tonight," Paxton tweeted shortly after the ruling. "I will fight federal overreach at every turn."
The Texas abortion law, which took effect on Sept. 1, bans abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy.
The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. It also lets ordinary citizens enforce the ban, rewarding them at least $10,000 if they successfully sue anyone who helped provide an abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected. Critics of the law have said this provision enables people to act as anti-abortion bounty hunters.Tens of thousands of women took to the streets in cities across the country last weekend, asserting their reproductive rights.
A federal judge is deciding whether to block the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which has banned most abortions in Texas since early on September and sent women racing hundreds of miles to get care outside the state.
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