AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Texas to suspend the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., which since September has banned most abortions in the nation’s second-most populous state.
The order by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is the first legal blow to the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8, which until now had withstood a wave of early challenges. In the weeks since the restrictions took effect, Texas abortion providers say the impact has been “exactly what we feared.”
But even with the law on hold, abortion services in Texas may not instantly resume because doctors still fear that they could be sued without a more permanent legal decision.
Texas officials are likely to seek a swift reversal from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously allowed the restrictions to take effect.
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in