US Supreme Court to Hear Challenge of Texas Abortion Ban

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a Nov. 1 challenge by the administration of President Joe Biden and abortion providers to a Texas law imposing a near-total ban on the procedure, a case that will determine the fate of the stricter abortion law. in the U.S.
It is the second major abortion case that the court, which has a conservative 6-3 majority, has scheduled for the next several months, with arguments set for Dec. 1 on the legality of a restrictive abortion law in Mississippi.

The Texas and Mississippi measures are among a series of Republican-backed laws passed at the state level limiting abortion rights, and come at a time when abortion opponents are hoping the Supreme Court will overturn the landmark Roe v . Wade of 1973 that legalized the procedure throughout the country. .

Mississippi has asked justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the Texas attorney general said Thursday that he would like to see that ruling dropped as well.

On Friday, judges deferred a decision on the Biden administration’s request that justices block Texas law while litigation continues, prompting dissent from liberal Judge Sotomayor. Lower courts have already blocked Mississippi law.

It is rare that the Supreme Court, as it did in this case, decides to hear arguments bypassing the lower courts that were already considering the Texas dispute, indicating that the justices have considered the matter of great public importance and that it requires a immediate review.

A general view of the US Supreme Court building at sunset in Washington, USA, November 10, 2020 (credit: REUTERS / ERIN SCOTT)

The Texas measure bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, a point at which many women still don’t realize they are pregnant. It makes an exception for a documented medical emergency, but not for rape or incest.

The Biden administration filed a lawsuit in September, challenging the legality of Texas law. In taking the case, the Supreme Court said it will decide whether the federal government can sue the state or other parties to ban the application of the abortion ban.

The other challenge the judges took on, presented by abortion providers in Texas, asks the court to decide whether the design of the state law, which allows private citizens rather than the government to enforce the ban, is permissible. . Providers, as well as management, have said the law is designed to evade federal court review.

Mississippi law prohibits abortions starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy. The rulings in that case and the Texas case expire at the end of June 2022, but could come sooner.

The Supreme Court previously allowed Texas law to be enforced in the challenge presented by abortion providers. In that Sept. 5-4 decision, Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts expressed skepticism about how the law is applied and joined the three dissenting Liberal justices.

Texas law is unusual in that it gives private citizens the power to enforce it by allowing them to sue anyone who practices or helps a woman have an abortion after heart activity is detected in the embryo. That feature has helped protect the law from being immediately blocked by making it more difficult to sue the state directly.

Individual citizens can be awarded a minimum of $ 10,000 for filing successful lawsuits. Critics have said that this provision allows people to act as bounty hunters against abortion, a characterization rejected by its advocates.

The Biden administration had asked the Supreme Court to quickly reinstate an Oct. 6 order from a federal judge temporarily blocking the law. The New Orleans-based United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit suspended that order a few days later.

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