Federal judge temporarily blocks enforcement of Texas law banning most abortions

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A federal judge granted the Justice Department a temporary injunction late Wednesday, blocking the enforcement of Texas’ strict abortion law.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued the order, which will block the state from enforcing law, known as S.B. 8, which was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in September that the law could be enforced while legal challenges are pending.

“From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” Pitman said in his ruling. “That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.”

Lawyers for the Justice Department appeared in federal court in Texas on Friday to ask a judge to block the state’s restrictive abortion law, arguing it’s “in open defiance of the Constitution.”

The law prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which is when fetal cardiac activity can be detected. It also provides incentives for private citizens to report those who seek or perform abortions for financial compensation.

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