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'An Answered Prayer': Federal Appeals Court Panel Reinstates Texas Law Banning Most Abortions

AP Photo.
AP Photo.

A federal appeals court panel restored the Texas abortion law late Friday, just two days after a judge ordered to temporarily suspend the bill. The pro-life measure bans nearly all procedures once a fetal heartbeat is detected around six weeks of pregnancy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit granted a request by the Texas attorney general to stop U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman's order blocking the law.

The Biden administration sued to stop the law, which was granted by Pitman on Wednesday. The judge, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, specifically took issue with the way the law is enforced and the fact that citizens can sue anyone who helps facilitate an illegal abortion. Citizens could also collect $10,000 in damages. 

"Tonight the Fifth Circuit has granted an administrative stay in the #SB8 case," the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, wrote on Twitter on Friday night. "I will continue to fight to keep #Texas free from federal overreach."

Paxton had asked the appeals court to reverse the injunction by Pitman, who defined the abortion ban as an "unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right." 

The appeals court panel, made up of conservative-leaning Judges Carl E. Stewart, Catharina Haynes and James C. Ho, called on lawyers for the Biden administration to respond to Texas' appeal by Tuesday.

In response to the ruling, Nancy Northup, president, and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement, "The Supreme Court needs to step in and stop this madness. It's unconscionable that the Fifth Circuit stayed such a well-reasoned decision that allowed constitutionally protected services to return in Texas."

However, the pro-life community is celebrating the good news.

"This is an answered prayer," said Kim Schwartz, spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, the state's largest anti-abortion group. "We expect the Biden administration to appeal to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and we are confident Texas will continue to defeat these attacks on our life-saving efforts."

Live Action tweeted, "Babies will live & families will remain safe."

"Truly amazing news," tweeted pro-life advocate Lila Rose. "The heartbeat law was saving an estimated 100 lives every

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