Supreme Court declined to block restrictive Texas abortion law in 5-4 decision


September 3, 2021: -On Wednesday, the Supreme Court does not agree to block a Texas law banning most abortions in a 5-4 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts and the three Democratic appointees of the court, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, dissented.

On Wednesday, the “heartbeat” law took effect after midnight in Texas. It bars most abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy when many women still have yet to discover they are pregnant and allow the private citizens to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers9999.

Sotomayor called the decision “stunning,” says the Texas law “flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents.”

“Presented with an application to enjoin an unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” she is writing.

On Monday, abortion providers and advocates, which include Planned Parenthood, filed an emergency request to block the law’s implementation. The petitioners said the law would overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that enshrined the right for women to choose to hold an abortion.

Some Texas officials, including Attorney General Ken Paxton, are urging the high court to deny their opponents’ bid to thwart the law, calling the request “audacious.”

S.B. 8 was signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. It is prohibiting doctors from performing or indulging abortions if they have “detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child,” apart from medical emergencies.

Roberts writes that the law was “not only unusual but unprecedented” in how it delegated enforcement to the public in the place of state officials.

“The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the State from responsibility to implement and enforcing the regulatory regime,” he wrote.

The latest law empowers individuals to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers or the ones who “aids or abets” the procedures after detecting a heartbeat. Those lawsuits can yield around $10,000 in “statutory damages” per abortion.

“In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures,” Sotomayor said.

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