A federal judge has blocked Joe Biden’s emergency request to stop the Texas abortion ban, which has saved anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 babies from abortion.
The Texas heartbeat law went into effect Sept. 1, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other state heartbeat laws, the Texas law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law and those who help them.
Pro-life leaders in the state estimate as many as 100 babies are being saved from abortion every day while the law is in effect.
United States District Judge Robert Pitman in a one page decision this afternoon denying Biden’s request to block the law while the lawsuit against it continues.
“[T]his case presents complex, important questions of law that merit a full opportunity for the parties to present their positions to the Court,” Judge Pitman, an Obama appointee, wrote. “Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the United States’ Opposed Motion for Expedited Briefing Schedule, (Dkt. 13), is DENIED.”
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The Justice Department argued that the Texas abortion ban will “prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights” and it claimed the ban violated the Constitution, even though there is no Constitutional right to kill babies in abortions.
Biden also argued that Texas had “an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court. This attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand.”
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court refused Planned Parenthood’s and other pro-abortion groups’ request to temporarily block the law. However, the court battle is not over.
Late Tuesday, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice interfered in the matter, submitting an emergency request to block the law. A day later, 24 Democrat state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in support of the request.
“This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact. It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 [the heartbeat law] purports to prohibit,” the Department of Justice argued.
Yesterday, Judge Pitman scheduled an October 1 hearing for a longer assessment of Biden’s demand. Pitman scheduled the hearing nearly two weeks later than what the Biden administration wanted.
In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics.
The law already is saving lives. While abortion activists say some women are traveling to other states for abortions, they admit that others are having their babies instead.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are reaching out to pregnant women across Texas with compassion and understanding, offering resources and emotional support to help them and their babies. Earlier this year, state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies.
About a dozen states have passed heartbeat laws to protect unborn babies from abortion, but Texas is the first to be allowed to enforce its law. Whether the law will remain in effect or ultimately be upheld as constitutional in court remains uncertain, but pro-life leaders are hopeful now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority.
Though about a dozen states have passed similar heartbeat laws, Texas is the first to be allowed to enforce its law. The others have been blocked by the courts.
In their ruling late Wednesday, the Supreme Court said the pro-abortion groups did not provide sufficient reasons to justify blocking the law, according to the AP.
“The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue,” the majority wrote. “But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden. … In light of such issues, we cannot say the applicants have met their burden to prevail in an injunction or stay application.”
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett made up the majority in the decision. The justices who dissented were Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor also wrote separate dissents slamming the court for allowing Texas to restrict abortions.
Kelsey Hazzard, a lawyer and leader with Secular Pro-Life, said the justices did not rule on the constitutionality of the law. They basically said “it’s too early for the Supreme Court to get involved” and the lower courts should handle it first, she explained.
The heartbeat law has the potential to save tens of thousands of babies’ lives every year, including 100 every day. Signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in May, it prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, typically about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Unique from other heartbeat laws, the Texas legislation includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law.
Texas Right to Life expressed hope that its life-saving legislation will spread to other states and save babies from abortion all across the country.
“Texas Right to Life celebrates this phenomenal victory for tens of thousands of preborn children who will be spared the evil of abortion,” the organization said in a statement. “We are optimistic that the Texas Heartbeat Act will continue to survive ongoing and future legal attacks against this historic policy.”
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear another major abortion case out of Mississippi in October, bringing even more hope that the justices will allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again.