Judge temporarily bars Texas from enforcing law that bans most abortions

A federal judge in Texas on Wednesday temporarily barred Texas from enforcing the controversial abortion ban that bars the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Judge Robert L. Pitman granted a motion brought by the Department of Justice seeking a temporary restraining order as the constitutionality of the law is further litigated in the courts.

“This Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right,” the order reads. 

Pitman also denied the state’s motion to dismiss the Justice Department’s lawsuit challenging the law.

Texas’ abortion law, which went into effect in September, is among the nation’s most restrictive. In addition to outlawing abortion once embryonic cardiac activity is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before many women know they’re pregnant — the measure allows private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against anyone who provides an abortion after that point or helps a woman access the procedure, such as a friend who drives a woman to obtain an abortion, or clinic staff. Those found in violation of the law are required to pay at least $10,000 to the person who successfully brought the suit.

This is a breaking story. It will be updated.