The law allows private citizens to sue those providing or assisting in abortions performed after about six weeks.

The United States Department of Justice has asked a federal court in Texas to temporarily stop the enforcement of a new state law that bans most abortions.

The Texas law, known as SB8, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity – usually around six weeks, a point before which some women do not even know they are pregnant.

In Tuesday night’s emergency motion in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, the DoJ said: “A court may enter a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction as a means of preventing harm to the movant before the court can fully adjudicate

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