On Oct. 6, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued an order blocking the state's six-week abortion ban, according to Texas Lawyer.
Pitman, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, granted the department's request for a preliminary injunction in a scathing order criticizing Texas for passing a law that violated U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
"A person's right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established. With full knowledge that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the state contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme whereby it created a private cause of action in which private citizens with no personal interest in or connection to a person seeking an abortion would be able to interfere with that right using the state's judicial system, judges, and court officials," Pitman stated.
The order prevents Texas' "officers, officials, agents, employees and any other persons or entities acting on its behalf" from enforcing the law, known as S.B. 8 or the Texas Heartbeat Act. It also enjoins state court judges and clerks who have the power to enforce or administer the law and orders Texas to publish public notices on all state court websites stating that "S.B. 8 lawsuits will not be accepted by Texas courts."
According to CNN.com, the Texas statute bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detecteda point usually around six weeks into a pregnancy and often before a woman knows she is pregnant. It took effect Sept. 1 after the Supreme Court declined an emergency request to block it.
"[The] ruling enjoining the Texas law is a victory for women in Texas and for the rule of law," U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "It is the foremost responsibility of the Department of Justice to defend the Constitution. We will continue to protect constitutional rights against all who would seek to undermine them."