Texas Abortion Law Stands after Supreme Court Approves Challenge from Abortion Providers

Supreme Court on Friday said Texas abortion providers may sue to stop the state’s ban on most abortions after six weeks, but left the law in place.

  • The splintered decision allows the providers to return to a district judge who once blocked the law, saying it violated the constitutional right to abortion, The Washington Post reports, restarting the legal process that has seen the law remain in effect since Sep 1, when the Supreme Court refused to step in to block it.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for himself and the court’s three liberals, saying the district judge should act quickly: “Given the ongoing chilling effect of the state law, the District Court should resolve this litigation and enter appropriate relief without delay.”
  • On the other hand, Justice Clarence Thomas, a critic of the court’s abortion jurisprudence, wrote that he would not have allowed the lawsuit to continue.
  • “The decision was both a partial victory and a disappointment for abortion rights supporters. They had asked the court to block the law while the legal process continued, but have not found the necessary five votes,” writes the Post.

While the case over Texas’s law is procedural, the Supreme Court since then has signaled it is ready to make dramatic changes in the judicial rules governing abortion rights. In debating a Mississippi law that bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks, some justices earlier this month indicated they are open to overturning Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years has said there is a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability.