Federal judge calls Texas law 'offensive deprivation' of a constitutional right

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Texas to suspend the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., calling it an “offensive deprivation” of a constitutional right by banning most abortions in the nation’s second-most populous state since September, the AP reports.

The order by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is the first legal blow to the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8, which until now had withstood a wave of early challenges. In the weeks since the restrictions took effect, Texas abortion providers say the impact has been “exactly what we feared.”

In a 113-page opinion, Pitman took Texas to task over the law, saying Republicans lawmakers had “contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme” to deny patients their constitutional right to an abortion.

“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,” wrote Pitman, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama.

“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.”

But even with the law on hold, abortion services in Texas may not instantly resume because doctors still fear that they could be sued without a more permanent legal decision. Planned Parenthood said it was hopeful the order would allow clinics to resume abortion services as soon as possible.

Texas officials are likely to seek a swift reversal from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously allowed the restrictions to take effect. State officials did not immediately react to the ruling.

The lawsuit was brought by the Biden administration, which has said the restrictions were enacted in defiance of the U.S. Constitution.

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