Judge Robert Pitman granted the Biden administration’s petition to block enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act.
The ruling is wildly broad, preventing Texas state officials from enforcing the law, including the shocking prevention to stop Texas elected officials and every Texas judge and court clerk from even receiving lawsuits filed by citizens against the abortion industry. The provision blocking lawmakers is entirely unnecessary since the language of the Texas Heartbeat Act already prohibits government officials from enforcing the policy. However, Pitman’s effort to obstruct state judges and court clerks from fulfilling their lawful duties is astonishing.
This is the legacy of Roe v. Wade: Judges catering to the abortion industry, crafting a conclusion first and then searching the depths of legal literature for a rationale later.
Pro-Life attorneys are expected to appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals immediately, in which we expect a fair hearing.
Until a higher court intervenes, the disappointing reality is that Pitman’s ruling will likely stop the Texas Heartbeat Act from being enforced.
Judge Pitman showed the extreme prejudice motivating his decision today, writing:
“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. 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.”
However, even with this ruling, abortionists can still be held liable for any abortions they commit in violation of the law.
The Texas Heartbeat Act states that an individual being sued under the law cannot claim as an affirmative defense that they were acting under the protection of a court order that had since been reversed or overturned:
“Notwithstanding any other law, the following [is]not a defense to an action brought under this section… a defendant’s reliance on any court decision that has been overruled on appeal or by a subsequent court, even if that court decision had not been overruled when the defendant engaged in conduct that violates this subchapter;” (Section 171.208(e)(3), Texas Health and Safety Code)
Thus, those who aid or abet abortions, even if currently permitted by this ruling, could eventually be sued for their actions today.
Texas Right to Life is dedicated to holding the abortion industry accountable to the fullest extent possible under the law. We are confident that the Texas Heartbeat Act will ultimately withstand this legal challenge and succeed where other states’ heartbeat bills have not.
Texas must continue pushing for strong Pro-Life laws that directly challenge the faulty foundation upon which Roe v. Wade was decided and save preborn lives from the violence of abortion.