A federal judge temporarily blocked on Wednesday a near-total ban on abortion in Texas, the toughest such law in the United States, following a challenge from President Joe Biden’s administration after the U.S. Supreme Court let it proceed. The action by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin prevents the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law, which prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, while litigation over its legality continues.
A law banning abortion from as early as six weeks into pregnancy has come into effect in the US state of Texas. It bans abortions after the detection of what anti-abortion campaigners call a fetal heartbeat, something medical authorities say is misleading. The law, one of the most restrictive in the country, took effect after the Supreme Court did not respond to an emergency appeal by abortion providers.
The US supreme court agreed on Monday to consider a major rollback of abortion rights, saying it will take up Mississippi’s bid to enforce a 15-week ban on abortion. The court first announced a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in 1973. The state’s ban had been blocked by lower courts as inconsistent with supreme court precedent that protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before the fetus can survive outside her womb.
The UN has backed a resolution on combatting rape in conflict but excluded references in the text to sexual and reproductive health, after vehement opposition from the US. The resolution passed by the security council on Tuesday after a three-hour debate and a weekend of fierce negotiations on the language among member states that threatened to derail the process. In recent months, the Trump administration has taken a hard line, refusing to agree to any UN documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions.
Iowa’s House and Senate passed the ‘heartbeat’ bill which would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected at as early as six weeks of pregnancy. The bill is a significant step toward one of the most restrictive US laws of its kind and is intended to pose an aggressive challenge to Roe vs. Wade, a landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions.
The US Supreme Court has defended abortion rights in Louisiana in the first ruling on the procedure since two Trump appointees joined the court. The major ruling struck down a state law that would have required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. It marked the second time in four years that the court ruled against the abortion law after it was voted down in Texas in 2016.
Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed a law on Monday banning almost all abortions after 15 weeks, saying he was ‘saving the unborn.’ The Gestational Age Act, effective immediately, means Mississippi holds the earliest abortion ban in the US. Mississippi state director for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates Felicia Brown-Williams called the ban ‘unconstitutional.’
Citing the need to preserve health care capacity for COVID-19 patients, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that abortions should not be performed unless the mother’s life is in danger. The warning comes one day after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered health care facilities and professionals to postpone all procedures that are deemed “not medically necessary” as the state gears up for an influx of patients with COVID-19.
The Alabama Senate passed a bill Tuesday evening to ban nearly all abortions. The state House had already overwhelmingly approved the legislation. It’s part of a broader anti-abortion strategy to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the right to abortion. It would be one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the United States. The bill would make it a crime for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, unless a woman’s life is threatened or in case of a lethal fetal anomaly.
The Senate rejected a bill, Monday, aimed at banning the majority of abortions after 20 weeks. The vote forced conservative Democrats to show their hand, potentially hurting their re-election prospects in states won by President Trump. The 51 to 46 vote fell along party lines and did not come as a surprise.