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Demonstrators rally for abortion rights ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court reconvening Oct. 4. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday evening granted the Biden administration's request to temporarily block enforcement of Texas' controversial abortion ban.

Why it matters: The ruling means that medical professionals can offer abortions in Texas even after about six weeks of pregnancy without fear of facing a lawsuit by members of the public, at least for the moment, Bloomberg notes.

Details: "A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established," U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman wrote in the ruling.

  • "Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the State contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that."

What they're saying: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement that the ruling marked "an important step forward toward restoring the constitutional rights of women across the state of Texas." She said the "fight has only just begun," with several U.S. states moving to restrict abortion.

  • "That's why the President supports codifying Roe v. Wade," the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution protects a pregnant people's right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction, Psaki said.
  • Psaki said the Texas law "not only blatantly violates the right to safe and legal abortion established under Roe v. Wade, but it creates a scheme to allow private citizens to interfere with that right and to evade judicial review."

What to watch: Texas officials said they will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Pitman's decision, per AP.

Yes, but: The Texas law includes a provision for those who perform abortions when there's a court injunction barring the ban to be "sued retroactively" — something anti-abortion groups including Texas Right to Life noted to the New York Times.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Psaki, details of Texas officials' plans to appeal the ruling and further context.

Go deeper

Top Democrat predicts "nastiness" for Florida's 2022 legislative session

The Florida Capitol. Photo: Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nothing about Florida's current political discourse would lead you to believe that our representatives are nearing something resembling peace and understanding — and that's not changing anytime soon.

What's happening: State Rep. Evan Jenne, the House Democratic caucus' co-leader, expects a "knock-down, drag-out" legislative session next year, full of "nastiness and controversy" ahead of the 2022 midterms, per Florida Politics.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in August 2020. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.