At least one abortion provider in Texas has resumed providing the procedure to patients after a federal court judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s heartbeat abortion law late Wednesday. The law effectively banned the procedure at around six weeks of pregnancy.
The Texas Tribune reported Whole Women’s Health, an abortion provider that runs four clinics in Texas and a half dozen in other states, reached out to patients on their waiting list to come in and have abortions.
On a press call Thursday, Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO for Whole Woman’s Health, said “Folks whose pregnancies did have cardiac activity earlier in September, and we were able to see a few people … right away, when we opened the clinic.”
But other providers and doctors in the Lone Star State are waiting until the legal battle is finalized, according to the Texas Tribune.
As CBN News reported, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, a 2014 Obama appointee, issued a preliminary injunction blocking the measure known as Senate Bill 8, and accused Texas of pursuing “an unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right.”
In his 113-page opinion, Pitman specifically took issue with the way the law is enforced, which relies solely on private citizens. According to the measure, citizens can sue abortion providers who violate it and collect $10,000 in damages.
The law went into effect on Sept. 1 and bans abortions once a baby’s heartbeat is detected, which is before some women even know they are pregnant.
Pitman’s ruling forbids state judges and clerks from accepting lawsuits against those who violate the law. The state of Texas quickly filed a notice of appeal and will most likely seek an emergency stay of Pitman’s order.
The case will be heard before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which is considered by legal analysts as the nation’s most conservative appellate court.
The Texas Right to Life organization told the Texas Tribune if Pitman’s order is reversed, it would consider filing lawsuits against providers or doctors who perform abortions outlawed under the heartbeat law.
“Any abortions that are committed after September 1, 2021 — there is a four-year statute of limitations that somebody can retroactively sue for those abortions — so we are going to be vigilant,” said Kim Schwartz, the organization’s media and communication director.