The US Supreme Court has upheld a contentious Texas law prohibiting abortions.
Texas clinics began turning away patients yesterday as they hurried to comply with a Supreme Court rule upholding a state law limiting abortions beyond six weeks.
The Texas law prohibiting most abortions was upheld by the Supreme Court, but the court agreed to hear further arguments about the controversial bill next month.
Justices said yesterday (Friday) that they would rule whether the Justice Department and abortion providers could sue in federal court over a legislation that was “enacted in flagrant disdain of the constitutional rights of women seeking abortion care in Texas,” according to one justice. Arguments are scheduled for November 1, implying that the courts want to make a swift decision that will help determine whether the law should be blocked while legal challenges are being pursued.
The verdict does, however, maintain in place, at least for the time being, a legislation that clinics claim has led in 80% fewer abortions in America’s second largest state.
The justices indicated in the order that they would defer putting the statute on hold, rejecting the Justice Department’s request. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the panel’s members, stated unequivocally that she would have immediately halted the bill.
“The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now,” she wrote in presenting the opinion.
This put her at odds with other judges, since it appears that her viewpoint was insufficient to persuade others to provide the five votes needed to overturn the statute on the nine-member court. Three of the justices were chosen by President Donald Trump, giving the panel a 6-3 conservative majority. It came after Republican governor Greg Abbott signed a bill on May 19 that effectively outlaws abortions in Texas before many women are even aware they are pregnant.
In September, in response to an emergency filing by abortion providers, the Supreme Court declined to block the statute. The result was 5-4, with Trump’s three appointees joining two other conservatives to form a majority.
According to Kimberlyn Schwartz of the Texas Right to Life campaign, she is glad the statute is still in existence. “The summary has come to an end.”