Texas ‘heartbeat’ abortion law reinstated by Appeals Court

A US federal court on Friday evening issued a ruling allowing a Texas state law, which restricts abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, to take effect again amid an ongoing court fight.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling, reversing an October 6 decision by a lower court. At least six Texas abortion clinics had resumed performing abortions after the October 6 ruling, the New York Times reported, drawing strong criticism from pro-life groups.

Texas’ law, which is designed to be enforced through private lawsuits, prohibits abortions after a foetal heartbeat can be detected—around six weeks gestation— except in medical emergencies.

The law, which first took effect last month, allows for awards of at least $10,000 for successful lawsuits against those who perform or “aid and abet” illegal abortions; women seeking abortions cannot be sued under the law.