The Oct. 8 ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals came two days after a ruling from a federal district judge blocked the Heartbeat law.
"This entire question is about a temporary restraining order. So the nature is that it's temporary," Kimberlyn Schwartz, of Texas Right to Life, says of the latest legal action. “But the bigger picture is that how a court rules on a temporary restraining order often signals how the court is going to rule on the merits of the case.”
The Heartbeat law prohibits most abortions once medical professionals can detect a baby's heartbeat, which is usually around six weeks into a pregnancy. The law also allows any private citizen to sue Texas abortion providers who violate the law, as well as anyone who "aids or abets" a woman getting the procedure.
Abortion patients themselves, however, cannot be sued.
American Family News has reported the law went mostly unnoticed when Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law in May, but abortion supporters were furious when the U.S. Supreme Court, in September, turned down an appeal to stop it. Under pressure to act, the abortion-supporting U.S. Justice Dept. is suing Texas to stop it.
“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, should fear,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said of the state law.
Abortion supporters are attempting to punish pro-life lawmakers by targeting businesses that support their campaigns, a tactic that Schwartz calls a "juvenile" attempt to punish their opponents.
"It's such a blessing to be able to continue to save lives through the Texas Heartbeat Act," says Schwartz. "We know that every day that the Texas Heartbeat Act is in effect, it saves approximately 100 lives from abortion.”