Texas moves to reinstate nation's toughest abortion law

Texas on Friday asked a federal appeals court to swiftly reinstate the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., as some abortion clinics in the state resumed normal services for the first time since early September.

The request by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton came two days after a judge in Austin suspended the law known as Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks. 

His office is seeking an emergency order that would freeze the ruling issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, who called the law an "offensive deprivation" of the constitutional right to an abortion.

It puts the case before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously allowed the law to move forward. 

At least six abortion clinics in Texas began resuming regular abortion services after the law was put on hold, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Many Texas physicians are still wary of performing abortions, worried that doing so could still put them in legal jeopardy. 

The law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks, before some women even know they are pregnant. To enforce the law, Texas deputized private citizens to file lawsuits against violators, and has entitled them to at least $10,000 in damages if successful.

The lawsuit was brought by the Biden administration, which has said the restrictions were enacted in defiance of the U.S. Constitution.

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