The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the new abortion law in Texas that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The judgment dealt a huge blow to abortion rights even as President Joe Biden said he would protect Roe Vs Wade judgment.
In a 5-4 verdict, the supreme court handed down a judgment that goes down in history as a major milestone in the fight over abortion.
"The court's order is stunning," liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissenting opinion. "Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly 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," the justice said, according to Reuters.
The justices denied an emergency request by abortion and women's health providers for an injunction on enforcement of the ban, which took effect early on Wednesday. One of the court's six conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts, joined its three liberals in dissent.
The court said the decision was "not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas's law" and allowed legal challenges to proceed.
The Trump Impact
The decision illustrates the impact of former Republican President Donald Trump's three conservative appointees, who have tilted the court further right. All were in the majority.
The law would amount to a near-total ban on the procedure in Texas, as 85% to 90% of abortions are obtained after six weeks of pregnancy, and would probably force many clinics to close, abortion rights 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.
Texas is among a dozen mostly Republican-led states to ban the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, often at six weeks and sometimes before a woman realizes she is pregnant.
Courts have blocked such bans, citing Roe v. Wade.
The court's action over the Texas ban could foreshadow its approach in another case over a 15-week ban by Mississippi in which the state has asked the justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The court will hear arguments in the term beginning in October, with a ruling due by the end of June 2022.
Biden Weighs In
President Joe Biden condemned the Texas law that went into effect on Wednesday which prohibts the vast majority of abortions in the state, and pledged his administration would fight to protect the constitutional right to abortion as laid out in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
"The Texas law will significantly impair women's access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes," Biden said in a statement. "And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion."