Supreme Court declines to block Texas abortion law for now but will hear two challenges

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday once again refused to block a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, but judges will look at two major challenges to the law in the coming weeks. Agreed to hear the matter, which can settle the matter.

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The court agreed to hear oral arguments in the cases on November 1.

The Texas law has been blocked once and upheld twice by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which prompted a Congressional hearing and asserted abortion and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Back at the fore of the nation’s culture wars.


Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the court for not blocking the law while it agrees to consider the cases next month.

“For the second time, the court is presented with an application to join a statute enacted in open defiance of the constitutional rights of women seeking abortion care in Texas,” she wrote Friday. “For the second time, the court refuses to act immediately to save these women from serious and irreparable harm.”

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The Supreme Court is juggling two lawsuits over the law, one filed in September by the Justice Department and another by abortion providers. A 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court withdrew the providers’ challenge in September, leaving the Texas law in effect and A signal of backlash from abortion rights advocates.

The Texas law, signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in May, bans abortions if cardiac activity is detected, which can happen at six weeks. The law does not include any exceptions for rape or incest, but the procedure is permitted for “medical emergencies”.

Opponents say the law flies against court abortion precedents, including the constitutional right to procedure established by Roe. A 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey barred states from banning abortions outside the womb, or before the pregnancy has survived to approximately 24 weeks. Anti-abortion advocates say those decisions were framed unfairly and have tried to undermine or even convince the High Court to overturn them.

Those groups may get their wish: Conservatives hold a 6-3 advantage in the Supreme Court for the first time in decades and a blockbuster challenge to Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is on the docket, lawyers for both sides say. The issue has called into question the court’s commitment to Roe.

The Mississippi case is set for oral debate on December 1.

The Supreme Court’s earlier ruling on the Texas law did not deal with the underlying questions of constitutionality, but whether federal courts can block enforcement of the ban while lower courts have hashed out the case. Most of those legal conspiracies are a result of the way Texas law is framed.

Instead of the state government enforcing a ban, Texas encourages private citizens to prosecute anyone who helps a person obtain an abortion. This has had the practical effect of discouraging clinics from performing the procedure – for fear of lawsuits claiming violations of the law – but also makes it difficult for abortion rights groups to enforce the law’s injunction before such a trial. .

U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman, who was nominated by President Barack Obama, temporarily blocked the Texas law on October 6, saying the state “deliberately bypassed traditional process” and “reviewed by federal courts.” Drafted the law with the intention of preventing the obligation to protect the rights violated by the law.” Texas appealed the decision a day later.

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit enforced the law last week to overturn Pitman’s decision.

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