US: Judge blocks Texas ‘heartbeat’ abortion law, and date is set for Mississippi hearing

US: Judge blocks Texas ‘heartbeat’ abortion law, and date is set for Mississippi hearing
A demonstration at the US Supreme Court in 2013 CREDIT: Jordan Uhl / Flickr
ET staff writer
ET staff writer
22 October, 2021 2 min read

A US judge has temporarily halted a new law in Texas which bans abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected.

The judge granted an injunction in response to an emergency motion by President Biden’s administration, but Texan officials say they will appeal.

Texas Right to Life, a pro-life group, said, ‘The ruling is wildly broad, preventing Texas state officials from enforcing the law.’

The group accused judges of ‘catering to the abortion industry’ and called for a ‘fair hearing’ at the next stage.

But in his ruling, Judge Pitman said, ‘Women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution.’

Before the injunction was granted, women in Texas had to travel out of the state if they wanted an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Now, since the injunction, several abortion clinics in Texas say they will immediately restart their services for such women.

Abortion has been considered a constitutional right across the US ever since the highly controversial Roe v. Wade ruling by the US Supreme Court in 1973.

But pro-lifers are hopeful of overturning Roe v. Wade when the US Supreme Court hears an upcoming case from Mississippi.

The court, which presently has a conservative majority, has said it will begin hearing oral arguments relating to that case in December this year.

The case relates to a law passed in Mississippi, but blocked by federal courts, which bans abortions after the 15th week of a woman’s pregnancy, barring medical emergencies or foetal abnormalities.

The Supreme Court justices have stated that they intend to limit questions to one particular issue: whether laws restricting pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed a brief in July, arguing that Roe v. Wade has inflicted ‘profound damage’ and that ‘nothing but a full break from those cases can stem the harms they have caused’.

She argued that Roe v. Wade was ‘egregiously wrong’ and should be overturned. ‘The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.’ She said the case for overturning Roe is ‘overwhelming’.

ET staff writer
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