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Federal court orders judge to dismiss lawsuit over Texas Heartbeat Act

Nearly two dozen suits have been filed in attempt to halt the state law.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered district court Judge Robert Pitman to dismiss challenges to the Texas Heartbeat Act, effectively ending the primary lawsuit over the relatively new state law.

The suit involves the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson. The last step is now for Pitman to dismiss.

According to the group Texas Right to Life, critics of the law have filed 22 lawsuits trying to stop its enforcement, 14 of which were against Texas Right to Life itself. The law has also won arguments in the Texas Supreme Court three times.

The federal court's order directs the lower court to dismiss all challenges to private enforcement provisions of the statute and to consider whether the plaintiffs have standing to even challenge the law to begin with.

Texas Values, another group rallying in support of the law, called Tuesday's news a victory.

"This final federal court decision for life leaves no doubt that the Texas Heartbeat Act is the law of the land in the Lone Star State. We are grateful to the federal courts for upholding this groundbreaking law and protecting pre-born babies," said President Jonathan Saenz. 

Gov. Greg Abbott called it "another legal loss" for those challenging the law, which he says is "saving babies every day."

Whole Woman's Health declined to comment when reached on Tuesday.

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