A three-judge panel for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied the Department of Justice's emergency request to suspend Texas' abortion ban, which bars the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.
Why it matters: The ruling allows the ban to continue to be enforced as the courts consider the law's constitutionality. It's one of the most restrictive bans to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
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Medical providers in the state briefly resumed performing abortions last week after a federal judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional, though it was then temporarily reinstated by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The big picture: The Supreme Court, which allowed the law to go into effect in September, has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the law.
The Justice Department can now appeal the 5th Circuit's denial to the Supreme Court.
Go deeper: The vanishing access to abortion providers
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