US Appeals Court Schedules Arguments in Texas Abortion Case for January 7

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled to hear oral arguments for January 7 in the lawsuit challenging a Texas abortion law, a court document said on Monday.

“The court has decided that oral argument is appropriate before ruling on the State’s Motion to Certify or Alternate Motion to Set a Briefing Schedule, and the Response thereto. Consequently, the argument will be held at 9:00 a.m. in New Orleans on Friday, January 7, 2022,” the filing said.

The law being challenged in the case, known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, criminalizes abortions after six weeks of pregnancy when a heartbeat is first detected.

Earlier in December, the US Supreme Court ruled that abortion providers in Texas can sue the state over the law, but declined to stop its enforcement while the matter is sorted out in lower courts. The Supreme Court did not rule as to whether the law itself is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on a separate Mississippi abortion law that bans the procedure starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy.