A state law prohibiting women from getting abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court Tuesday. 

U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen Jr. ruled that states can’t simply ignore the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which found that pre-viability abortions are a legal right. Osteen sided with plaintiffs Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU. The ruling will take effect in sixty days. 

The decision comes as other conservative states—including South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida—have enacted or are considering legislation to ban abortion once doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat, which can happen around the sixth week of pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant. (A bill introduced last month in North Carolina would ban most abortions after thirteen weeks; it has yet to gain traction.)

The de facto abortion bans also flaunt Roe—and are obviously unconstitutional under the current Supreme Court strictures. But that’s precisely the point. Anti-choice activists are making a direct frontal assault on abortion rights, believing that, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, a more conservative Supreme Court might reverse its previous decision on the subject. 

For now, though, abortion rights remain protected in North Carolina. 

“Today’s decision is a victory for the women and doctors of North Carolina,” said Genevieve Scott, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This ban is unconstitutional and ignores the unique circumstances, challenges, and potential complications pregnant women face. Politicians taking medical options off the table for women at any stage of pregnancy is irrational and dangerous.” 

The law, said Irena Como, staff attorney for the state ACLU, was passed to “intimidate doctors and interfere in a woman’s personal medical decisions.” 

“We’re glad the court blocked this harmful and restrictive measure while affirming that people have a constitutional right to make their own decisions about their pregnancy,” Como said.