AUSTIN, Texas — In a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Texas’ request to pause the district court’s preliminary injunction on SB 8 while the case proceeds, meaning the law will remain in effect and continue to block Texans from getting the essential health care they need.
Today’s decision follows on the heels of the Fifth Circuit’s prior order issued on Oct. 8 that temporarily paused the district court preliminary injunction, which allowed Texas’ extreme abortion ban to go into effect only 48 hours after it had been blocked.
SB 8 bans abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy, before many know they’re pregnant, and incentivizes anyone — including abusive partners, estranged relatives, and complete strangers — to act as bounty hunters and take doctors, health centers, and anyone who helps another person access abortion to court. If successful, they could collect at least $10,000 for each abortion, paid by the person who is sued.
“It’s outrageous but unsurprising that the Fifth Circuit has once again denied Texans their fundamental reproductive rights. Time and again, the Fifth Circuit has ignored the Constitution by allowing numerous abortion restrictions to take effect, including SB 8 today and last year when Texas used the pandemic as an excuse to ban abortion,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “The district court did the right thing in blocking the ban. We hope the Department of Justice urgently appeals this order to the Supreme Court to restore Texans’ ability to obtain abortion care after six weeks in pregnancy and we hope the Supreme Court will put an end to harms this law is causing.”