US federal judge blocks Texas abortion law

A US federal judge has ordered the state of Texas to temporarily suspend a law that bans nearly all abortions, granting a request by the administration of President Joe Biden.

The law, which took effect in Texas last month, prohibits abortion once cardiac activity is detected in a fetus, about six weeks into a pregnancy. But critics say most women won't be aware they are pregnant at that stage.

Nine days after the enforcement, the Biden administration sued Texas over the law, arguing it was unconstitutional. The administration also sought an injunction to bar enforcement of the law while its lawsuit proceeds.

The federal district court judge issued the injunction on Wednesday, saying the court will not sanction one more day of the "offensive deprivation of such an important right."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the ruling is "an important step forward toward restoring the constitutional rights of women across the state of Texas."

US media outlets say Texas has appealed the ruling.

Abortion remains a highly divisive issue in the US. The Supreme Court's 1973 landmark decision known as Roe v. Wade, legalized abortion across the country.

The federal top court is to start hearings on the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.