Court Allows Texas To Continue Banning Most Abortions

Texas Continue Banning Most Abortions

Texas may continue to ban most abortions after a federal appeals court rejected the Biden administration’s latest attempt to stop a new law that has become the nation’s biggest brake on abortion in nearly 50 years.

Thursday’s decision could bring the law closer to returning to the US Supreme Court, which has already allowed the restrictions to take effect without ruling on their constitutionality. Texas law prohibits abortions once heart activity is detected, usually around six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant.

Since the law took effect in early September, Texas women have flocked to abortion clinics in neighboring states, driving a few hours in the middle of the night and including patients as young as 12 years old. The law makes no exception in cases of rape or incest.

“We hope that the Justice Department will urgently appeal this order to the Supreme Court to restore Texans’ ability to obtain abortion services after six weeks of pregnancy,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, The Justice Department did not immediately react to the decision and a spokesman had no comment Thursday night.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed to Texas’ request to keep the law in effect as the court case progresses. It’s the third time the conservative appeals court has sided with Texas and let the restrictions stick.

The panel said it would expedite the appeal and schedule oral arguments, but did not say when The Texas Attorney General’s Office called the decision “testimony that we are on the right side of the law and life.”

It marks another setback for the Department of Justice and abortion providers in Texas in their efforts to derail the law, which has so far prevailed due to a unique structure that leaves enforcement of the law to private citizens. Anyone who files a successful lawsuit against an abortion provider for violating the law has the right to claim at least $ 10,000 in damages, which, according to the Biden administration, amounts to a reward.

Despite numerous legal challenges both before and after the law took effect on September 1, only once has a court moved to suspend the restriction, and that order only stood for 48 hours.

During that brief period, some Texas clinics rushed to perform abortions on patients past six weeks, but many more appointments were canceled after the 5th Circuit moved to swiftly reinstate the law last week, Texas had roughly two dozen abortion clinics before the law took effect, and operators have said some could be forced to close if the restrictions remain in place much longer.

The stakes are already high in the coming months on the future of abortion rights in the US In December, the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court will hear Mississippi’s attempt to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion.

A 1992 Supreme Court decision prevented states from banning abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy. But the Texas version has outdone the courts so far due to the fact that it offloads law enforcement to private citizens.

Texas Right to Life, the largest anti-abortion group in the state, established a hotline to receive complaints against abortion providers but has not filed any lawsuits. Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokeswoman, said Thursday that the group expected the Biden administration to go to the Supreme Court next and was “confident that Texas will finally defeat these attacks on our life-saving efforts.”

On Wednesday, 18 state attorneys general from states mostly managed by the Republican Party gave new support to the Texas law, urging the court to let the restrictions remain while they accuse the federal government of exaggerating by presenting the challenge in the first place. place.

United States Attorney General Merrick Garland called the law “clearly unconstitutional” and warned that it could become a model in other parts of the country unless it is canceled, “The Attorney General has no authority to act as a roving reviewer of state law, challenging as unconstitutional any rule that he disagrees with,” said the Indian Attorney General.