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Federal Judge Sets Hearing Date to Rule on Justice Department’s Emergency Request to Stop Texas Abortion Ban

A federal district judge in Texas announced Wednesday that a hearing date for October 1 has been set to rule on the Justice Department’s request for a preliminary injunction to block Texas’s abortion ban.

The hearing date comes just after the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion Tuesday asking Judge Robert L. Pitman of the Western District of Texas to issue a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order that would prevent enforcement of the Texas six-week abortion ban while it is examined in court.

Judge Pitman will consider the Justice Department’s request for an emergency motion on October 1, meaning that the abortion ban, SB 8, will remain in effect for at least another two weeks. The Justice Department asked Judge Pitman to move the hearing date up to September 20, but he refused to do so on Thursday.

The Texas law effectively bans all abortion in the state. It also deputizes private citizens to enforce the ban by empowering individuals to sue anyone who “aids and abets” a person getting an abortion. A preliminary injunction would prevent people or organizations from filing lawsuits against those who help a person obtain an abortion while the law is litigated. Last week, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to challenge the six-week ban, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

The ban has forced people seeking abortions to continue unwanted pregnancies or travel out of state to receive abortion care, which imposes costly burdens on patients.

“This experience has also been traumatic for our physicians and staff as they must tell patient after patient that they cannot care for them,” said Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in a statement. “They are essentially being forced to inflict trauma on their patients.”

Sources: CNN 9/16/21; Feminist Newswire 9/15/21; Feminist Newswire 9/10/21; Washington Post 9/15/21

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