The United States Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to ban abortions, after six weeks of pregnancy, take effect on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court did not act on a request by abortion rights groups to block the law, which was scheduled to take effect at midnight on September 1, 2021.
Abortion providers worked until almost the midnight deadline, when the court’s inaction allowed the most restrictive ban in the country to be enforced while litigation continues in the groups’ lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.
This action by SCOTUS could be a major blow to historic precedent set by Roe v. Wade. The law bans abortions where an ultrasound detects what the law defined as a “fetal heartbeat.”
The law amounts to a near-total ban on abortion procedures given that 85% to 90% of abortions occur after six weeks of pregnancy, and would likely force many clinics to close, the groups said. Such a ban has never been permitted in any state since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
The decision is cause for concern for abortion rights advocates as the court is also expected to examine a Mississippi law that is seen as a direct challenge to Roe. The justices agreed in May to consider the law, which prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The Texas Law, Senate Bill (SB) 8, signed on May 19, 2021, does not impose criminal penalties for carrying out abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. What it does is unusual, as it gives private citizens the power to enforce it by enabling them to sue abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks. Citizens who win such lawsuits would be entitled to a minimum of $10,000.
“Texas Right to Life is thankful that the Texas Heartbeat Act is now in effect. We are now the first state ever to enforce a heartbeat law. We still await word from SCOTUS,” spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz said in a statement, using an acronym for Supreme Court of the United States.
Not surprising to anyone, Democratic President Joe Biden and Democratic U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi have already blasted the Texas move. Nor is it surprising their views of mandating mask and vaccinations for children, that we have to realize, if they were six weeks old, in the womb, they would allow them to be murdered.