If a law is blocked by a court, is it possible to break it?
By Rachel M. Cohen
Mar 20, 2023
Until very recently, nearly everyone accepted some basic ideas about the American legal system. If a state passes a law, and that law is challenged in court, we should act as if that law is still in effect while the case works its way through the court system. That changes only if a judge issues a “preliminary injunction” blocking the law while the lawsuit plays out or a “permanent injunction” to strike the law down. In that case, we all act as if the law is not in effect.
But in recent years, an aggressive wing of the anti-abortion movement has been working to challenge this broadly held idea of legality — a push that has attracted little notice, but is further complicating the debate over abortion access.