Late Friday evening, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated the Texas Heartbeat Act, which district court Judge Pittman had placed a restraining order on earlier in the week. The U.S. Department of Justice has until Tuesday, October 12 at 5 p.m. to respond to the 5th Circuit’s ruling on the matter before the temporary order becomes more permanent.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted the news on Friday evening, saying, “Great news tonight, The Fifth Circuit has granted an administrative stay on #SB8. I will fight federal overreach at every turn.”
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) October 9, 2021
The Texas Heartbeat Act prevents abortions after the child’s heartbeat is detected, but not through traditional enforcement means. Rather, the enforcement will take place in the civil court system, with private citizens enforcing the bill via lawsuits against abortion providers. The Texas Heartbeat Act does not go after the individual having the abortion, but rather the individuals assisting in it, thereby skating around the implications of the Right to Privacy in the 14th Amendment, under which the Supreme Court enacted Roe v. Wade (1973). This Heartbeat Act attacks abortion providers as a way to dramatically limit abortion in Texas.
Kimberly Schwartz, the director of media and communication for Texas Right to Life, stated, “The Texas Heartbeat Act saves approximately 100 lives from abortion per day, and we’re grateful that this tremendous impact will continue. 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.”
Whatever the final decision of the 5th Circuit following the DOJ response on Tuesday, it will undoubtedly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.