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Supreme Court Rejects Emergency Request to Block Texas’ Six-Week Abortion Ban

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal late on Wednesday to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions.

In a 5-4 vote, the Court refused to step in to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The measure is arguably one of the most pro-life laws in the country.

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Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito voted in the majority to uphold the Texas abortion ban.

Chief Justice John Roberts, a supposed Republican, joined the court’s three liberal members in dissent.

The Supreme Court majority cited “complex and novel” procedural questions for its decision, emphasizing that it was not ruling on the constitutionality of the Texas law.

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 back in May, which prohibits abortions following the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The measure also allows members of the public to file a lawsuit against doctors they claim violated the law, The Hill reported.

Nearly two dozen abortion providers were looking to block the law from going into effect.

The providers filed an emergency motion asking the appeals court to issue a temporary stay or send the matter back to a lower court.

The 5th Circuit Court, which is arguably one of the most conservative in the country, denied the request.

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The Texas Tribune reported:

Abortion restrictions: SB 8 prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Abortion providers are suing to block the law. Additionally, HB 1280 would outlaw abortion in Texas 30 days after any potential U.S. Supreme Court decision overturns Roe v. Wade.

“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Abbott said when he signed Senate Bill 8 into law.

“In Texas, we work to save those lives, and that’s exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session,” he said at the time.

“The life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” Abbott added.

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Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes said he hopes it will serve as an example for other states looking to restrict abortion.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the most powerful pro-life legislation in Texas history and will stand as a model for the country,” he said.

Texas GOP Rep. Shelby Slawson tweeted: “When a heartbeat is detected, that innocent unborn life is protected!!”

The law was done in a clever way, where no government official was charged with enforcing the law, but providing private citizens the right to sue abortion providers who perform abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

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Because of that, there is no one for abortion rights activists to sue as they normally would.

“It’s a very unique law and it’s a very clever law,” Josh Blackman, a South Texas College of Law Houston professor, said. “Planned Parenthood can’t go to court and sue Attorney General [Ken] Paxton like they usually would because he has no role in enforcing the statute. They have to basically sit and wait to be sued.”

“Every citizen is now a private attorney general,” he said. “You can have random people who are against abortion start suing tomorrow.”

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