Supreme Court Doesn’t Block Texas Abortion Law, Sets Hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is not immediately blocking the Texas law that bans most abortions, but has agreed to hear arguments in the case on Nov. 1.
The justices said Friday they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law.
The court’s action leaves in place for the time being a law that clinics say has led to an 80% reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state.
The law bans abortions after cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.
That’s before some women even know they are pregnant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that she would have blocked the law now.
“The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now,” Sotomayor wrote.
The focus of the high court arguments will not be on the abortion ban, but whether the Justice Department can sue and obtain a court order that effectively prevents the law from being enforced, the Supreme Court said in its brief order.
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,” the Biden administration wrote in a brief filed earlier in the day.
Other state-enforced bans on abortion before the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks, have been blocked by courts because they conflict with Supreme Court precedents.
“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 administration wrote.