In Summary: Proponents of Texas Senate Bill 8 suffered a setback this week as a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against Texas’ so-called “abortion ban.”
The Details: U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued the injunction temporarily halting S.B. 8, also known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” which fines medical facilities for that carry out an abortion procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Opponents of Senate Bill 8 argue that banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks after conception, violates the landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, October 6th, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman referred to the Texas ban as an “offensive deprivation of an important right.” Judge Pitman was appointed to the federal court by President Obama in 2014.
Supporters of the Heartbeat Bill note that public opinion is on their side. The Abby Johnson book and movie, Unplanned, legislative attempts to legalize abortion on demand and reports of Planned Parenthood selling organs from aborted babies have stirred outrage and swung the pendulum of public opinion against the progressive’s stretching of the 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling.
Judge Pitman’s injunction supports the Biden Administration’s intent to reverse Trump-era restrictions on abortion services. Pro-life movement leaders expressed great disappointment when, shortly into his presidency, President Biden, who is on record for opposing changes to the Hyde Amendment, moved to strike the legislation which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except to save the woman’s life or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.
Progressive groups hailed Judge Pitman’s ruling. However, Texas officials are likely to appeal. The appeal would be taken up by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously ruled in favor of Senate Bill 8.
Judge Pitman’s offered strong criticism of Senate Bill 8, stating that “this court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.”
If the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses Judge Pitman’s ruling, the case could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently has a slight conservative majority.
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