Supreme Court lets Texas 6-week abortion ban stay in place and will hear oral arguments November 1

Supreme Court lets Texas 6-week abortion ban stay in place and will hear oral arguments November 1
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The Supreme Court allowed a Texas law that bars most abortions after six weeks to remain in place for now, but it agreed to hear oral arguments on the law next month.

The law, banning abortions often before a woman knows she is pregnant is in stark contrast to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

In agreeing to hear the case under such an expedited time frame, the court said Friday that it would focus specifically on the unusual way in which the Texas legislature crafted the law. Texas officials are barred from enforcing it. Instead, private citizens — from anywhere in the country — can bring a civil suit against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the law.

In the brief order, the court said it would look at whether a law can be written in such a way to insulate a state from the responsibility of enforcing it. It also says it will review whether the US Justice Department can challenge the law in court.

Critics of the law say that it was written specifically to make it difficult to challenge — and if the court did not step in to block such an enforcement mechanism, other challenges could be brought in areas like the gun control.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized her colleagues for once again allowing the law to remain in effect, despite the quick schedule for oral arguments. The expedited schedule, she wrote in a dissent, offers “cold comfort” for women in Texas seeking abortion care “who are entitled to relief now.”

She said “the impact is catastrophic.”

“I cannot capture the totality of this harm in these pages,” Sotomayor said, adding that Texas, “empowered by this Court’s inaction,” has “thoroughly chilled the exercise of the right recognized in Roe.”

“Women seeking abortion care in Texas are entitled to relief from this Court now.,” she continued. “Because of the Court’s failure to act today, that relief, if it comes, will be too late for many. Once again, I dissent. “

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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