The Supreme Court did not block the law that bans abortions in Texas this week, though it did set a hearing for next month to hear arguments in the case.
Yahoo News reported that the justices announced today that they would be deciding whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law, as this question will help them determine whether the law should be blocked while legal challenges continue. It is likely that this decision will be made quickly because the court is moving at an unusually fast pace with this, setting the hearing for November 1.
Liberals are up in arms over this law, with clinics saying that it has led to an 80% reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who Barack Obama appointed, said today that she would block the law right now if it were up to her.
“The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now,” Sotomayor wrote.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, spoke out to say that this decision from the Supreme Court means that women will continue to be denied care at the four Whole Woman’s Health clinics in Texas, on top of the hundreds who already have been turned away.
“The legal limbo is excruciating for both patients and our clinic staff,” Miller said.
This law has been in effect for a month now, with the exception of a court-ordered district pause that lasted just 48 hours. The law bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant.
The law in Texas was designed to evade early federal court review by putting enforcement of it into the hands of private citizens rather than state officials. The Supreme Court explains that its ultimate decision won’t be about abortion at all, as it will instead be on whether the Justice Department can sue and obtain a court order that effectively prevents the law from being enforced.
The Joe Biden administration said earlier today that if the law stays in effect, “no decision of this Court is safe. States need not comply with, or even challenge, precedents with which they disagree. They may simply outlaw the exercise of whatever rights they disfavor.”
“Texas should not obtain a different result simply by pairing its unconstitutional law with an unprecedented enforcement scheme designed to evade the traditional mechanisms for judicial review,” the White House continued.
It remains to be seen how this will all play out next month.
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Author: James Samson
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