A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sided for a second time with Texas officials and suspended a lower court ruling that had blocked a Texas law banning most abortions. The order issued late Thursday night stated that the court would expedite the appeal and schedule oral arguments.
Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) bans abortions as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. It took effect on September 1, becoming the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the US. Since then, it has faced multiple legal challenges.
The controversial law was blocked by US District Judge Robert Pitman on October 6 after a complaint was filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Pitman found that the law would subject citizens of Texas to irreparable harm if it were allowed to stand. On October 8, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated Texas’ six-week abortion ban after the lower court had blocked the law just two days earlier.
The DOJ requested that the appeals court allow the lower court ruling blocking law enforcement from Texas. However, in a 2-1 decision, the appeals court granted emergency motions to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal.
In a tweet, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the order “another big win tonight — a victory for life!” However, the order is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.