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Judge blocks Texas heartbeat law


Abortion supporters rally at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Saturday. Associated Press/Photo by Stephen Spillman

Judge blocks Texas heartbeat law

The Justice Department won the first round of its fight against a pro-life law in Texas. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of President Barack Obama, ordered judges in the state to ignore the law while the department’s lawsuit against it is under review. In a furious opinion, Pitman wrote that he would “not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, fired back, saying, “Now an unelected judge has interfered with the clearly expressed will of Texans.”

What does the law do? It protects unborn babies after they have a detectable heartbeat, usually around six weeks of gestation. Unlike similar bills, this one doesn’t prosecute abortionists, instead allowing private citizens to sue them or anyone involved in facilitating abortions. The number of facilities providing abortions and the number of women seeking them in Texas plummeted when the law took effect on Sept. 1. It’s unclear how many abortionists will resume their services while the law is on hold.

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ report in Vitals about how pro-life pregnancy centers responded to mothers’ needs after the Texas heartbeat law went into effect.


Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.

@lmlangdon

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