A divided federal appeals court Thursday rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to stop Texas from enforcing the state’s law prohibiting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected — leaving the measure in place while the courts decide its ultimate fate.
The three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reject the Justice Department’s bid to stay a preliminary injunction allowing the law to stand.
The law, known as SB8, went into effect last month after the Supreme Court denied an emergency appeal filed by abortion providers. While similar measures in other states have been struck down by federal courts, the Texas law has so far prevailed in part due to its unusual structure that leaves enforcement up to private citizens.
Anyone who brings a successful lawsuit against an abortion provider for violating the law is entitled to claim at least $10,000 in damages, leading the Biden administration and pro-abortion activists to accuse Texas legislators of putting a bounty on women who seek to terminate their pregnancies.