US court allows Texas to resume ban on most abortions

A US federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas could resume its ban on most abortions, two days after another court suspended the ban.

The ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit based in New Orleans temporarily set aside Wednesday’s ruling, effectively reinstating a ban on most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks.

The decision came as some clinics in Texas had resumed providing abortions for the first time since the law came into effect in September.

On Wednesday evening, US District Judge Robert Pitman issued a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 (SB8).

In a blistering opinion, Pitman called the Texas law “flagrantly unconstitutional,” saying it violated the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a woman’s legal right to an abortion.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, quickly appealed that decision and the appeal was granted Friday evening.

“Great news tonight, The Fifth Circuit has granted an administrative stay on #SB8,” Paxton tweeted shortly after the ruling. “I will fight federal overreach at every turn.”

The Texas law, part of a broader conservative drive to restrict abortions across the US, prompted a public backlash.

Tens of thousands of women took to the streets in cities across the country over the weekend, asserting their reproductive rights.

The Texas law makes no exception for victims of rape or incest. – AFP

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