Judge orders Texas to suspend new law banning most abortions

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Abortion rights supporters gather to protest Texas SB 8 in front of Edinburg City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, in Edinburg, Texas. The nation’s most far-reaching curb on abortions since they were legalized a half-century ago took effect Wednesday in Texas, with the Supreme Court silent on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold.(Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge has ordered Texas to suspend a new law that has banned most abortions in the state since September.

The order Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman freezes for now the strict abortion law known as Senate Bill 8. It bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks. That is before some women even know they’re pregnant.

The decision is the first legal blow to the Texas law since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to take effect last month. Abortion providers in Texas say the restrictions have backlogged clinics hundreds of miles away as women now leave state borders to seek care.

Texas officials were expected to seek a swift appeal.

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