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Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order Partially Blocking Texas Heartbeat Act

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A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order blocking pro-life activists from filing lawsuits against attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel.

Pro-abortion activists are racing against the clock to block the enforcement of the Heartbeat Act (S.B. 8), which bans abortions after the unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected and is set to go into effect Wednesday.

Abortion groups asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block the law’s enforcement.

On Tuesday, Travis County District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum granted a temporary restraining order in response to a lawsuit from attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel.

“A temporary restraining order is entered enjoining the Injunctive Defendants, and any and all parties in active concert and participation with them, from instituting any private enforcement lawsuits against Plaintiff under SB8,” the order said. The order expires Sept. 14.

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Texas Right to Life insisted in a press release that the ruling only protects Simpson Tuegel from being sued by Texas Right to Life and Legislative Director John Seago, that the Heartbeat Act is still set to go into effect Wednesday and that the ruling does not impact any other citizen’s ability to sue for violations of the legislation — “despite attempts to manipulate the media.”

“This ruling by a Travis County judge does not change Texas Right to Life’s plans,” the organization said.

“Texas Right to Life is still legally authorized to sue others who violate the Texas Heartbeat Act, including abortionists.”

Simpson Tuegel had filed a lawsuit Aug. 23, arguing that the Heartbeat Act endangers lawyers who provide legal advice on abortions.

Is the Texas Heartbeat bill a win for the pro-life movement?

She said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the decision means, “at least for today, a court is communicating to Texas’ women that they will continue to legally access resources, advice and support as it relates to abortion in Texas.”

Her attorneys maintain that the ruling affects not only Texas Right to Life and Seago but also “those they are working to organize to bring lawsuits.”

“We look forward to making the case on behalf of our clients on September 13 for more permanent relief while the court can appropriately consider how blatantly unconstitutional SB8 is in so many respects, and how many different people it puts at risk,” Simpson Tuegel’s attorneys Jenny Ecklund, Elizabeth Myers, and Mackenzie Wallace said in a statement to the DCNF.

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