Court allows Texas to ban abortions again

Texas may continue to ban most abortions after a federal appeals court rejected the most recent attempt by the administration of President Joe Biden to reverse a new law that has become the largest restriction on termination of pregnancy in The United States in almost half a century.

Thursday’s ruling puts Texas law one step closer to returning to the federal Supreme Court, which once allowed the restrictions to be implemented without ruling on their constitutionality. Texas law prohibits abortions once heart activity is detected in the embryo, which occurs at approximately six weeks gestation, before some women know they are pregnant. The law makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Since the law took effect in September, Texas women have flocked to abortion clinics in neighboring states, some of them driving hours at night. In those tours there have also been patients as young as 12 years.

“We hope that the Justice Department will urgently appeal this order to the Supreme Court to restore the ability of Texans to obtain abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the American Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Civil Liberties (ACLU).

The Justice Department had no comment after the decision and a spokesman declined to comment Thursday night.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeals of the 5th. Circuit granted Texas’ request to keep the law in effect while the case proceeds in court. It is the third time since October that the conservative-majority court of appeals has ruled in favor of Texas, allowing the restrictions to remain in effect.

The panel said it would expedite the appeal and schedule oral arguments, but did not say when.

The Texas Secretary of Justice called the decision “testimony that we are on the right side of the law and on the right side of life.”

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“The battle is not over,” said Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, the largest statewide anti-abortion group. “We anticipate that the Biden administration will appeal to the federal Supreme Court and we are confident that in the long run Texas will defeat these attacks on our efforts to save lives,” he added.

The decision represents another setback for the Department of Justice and the state’s abortion providers in their attempts to curb the law, which has prevailed thus far due to a unique structure that delegates to private citizens the oversight of their abortion. compliance. Anyone who files a successful lawsuit against an abortion provider for violating the measure has the right to collect at least $ 10,000 in compensation, which the Biden administration claims is equivalent to paying rewards.

Despite various legal challenges, before and after the law came into force on September 1, only on one occasion has the court ruled in favor of suspending the measure and that order only lasted 48 hours.

During that brief period, some Texas clinics rushed to perform abortions on patients over six weeks’ gestation, but many appointments were canceled after the 5th Circuit court moved swiftly to reinstate the law last week.

Texas had roughly a score of abortion clinics before the law took effect, and its operators have said some could be forced to close if the restrictions remain in place much longer.

The stakes are already high in the coming months about the future of abortion rights in America. The new conservative majority on the Supreme Court will hear in December an attempt by Mississippi to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion.

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