Victory for Texas in Landmark Abortion Case

A sharply divided Supreme Court has upheld a Texas law that prohibits most abortions, thus depriving most females in the country’s second-largest state of their right to have an abortion.

It’s Not Quite Over Yet

The court voted 5-4 to dismiss an urgent appeal filed by abortion doctors and others seeking to stop the law from taking effect on Wednesday. However, the judges indicated that their decision is unlikely to be the final word as to whether the legislation can be upheld. This is because other objections can still be filed.

The Texas law, which was signed by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott in May, bans abortions after health doctors discover heart activity; this normally occurs in about six weeks and before so many women are aware that they are pregnant.

It is the most stringent anti-abortion measure in the United States since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973; it is also part of a broader Republican campaign to impose additional abortion restrictions across the country.

At least 12 additional states have passed early pregnancy bans, but they have all been prohibited from taking effect. The Texas law was not halted by the top court, which issued its decision near midnight on Wednesday.

The majority concluded that the petitioners had not met the high threshold of proof required for a suspension of the law.


One Conservative Sided with the Liberal Judges

The court’s three liberal judges, together with Chief Justice John Roberts, objected. Each one of the four opposing judges issued a separate report indicating their disapproval of the majority’s decision.

Whilst the majority rejected the immediate relief request, Roberts highlighted that the Court’s ruling is explicit in stating that it cannot be interpreted as upholding the legality of the law at the question.

The case’s outcome highlights the significance of the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020. It also highlights the significance of her successor: conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett by then-President Donald Trump. There would’ve been five votes to overturn the Texas legislation if Ginsburg had not passed away and instead stayed on the bench.

Sonia Sotomayor, a Supreme Court justice, dubbed her right-wing colleagues’ decision “shocking.” A majority of members of the court have chosen to bury their heads into the sand when faced with an appeal to stop a flagrantly unconstitutional law designed to prevent women from enjoying their constitutional protections and evade judicial scrutiny, she said.

Texas lawmakers enacted the statute to avoid federal district court review by permitting private persons to sue anyone engaged in an abortion, other than the patient in state court. Other termination rules are implemented by state and municipal authorities, with possible criminal penalties.

More information will come at a later date.