Jan 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court denies another bid to block Texas' six-week abortion law

Supreme Court
Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected yet another bid by abortion providers to block Texas' law banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Why it matters: This is the latest blow to abortion advocates, who have tried numerous times to block the law, which is the most restrictive abortion ban in the country.

The big picture: Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented.

  • "Today, for the fourth time, this Court declines to protect pregnant Texans from egregious violations of their constitutional rights," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, joined by Breyer and Kagan.
  • "This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to women in Texas, who have a right to control their own bodies," she added. "I will not stand by silently as a State continues to nullify this constitutional guarantee."
  • "An unconstitutional 6-week abortion ban remains in effect in Texas—as it has for over four months," Breyer wrote in his dissent, joined by Sotomayor and Kagan.

What they're saying: The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the plaintiffs in the case, issued a statement decrying the court's decision because it allows, "the state of Texas to slow walk the case and prevent any form of relief against the ban.

  • “Once again the Supreme Court has betrayed the people of Texas, who have been callously stripped of their constitutional right to abortion for more than four months now,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which is also representing plaintiffs.
  • “By enabling the state’s obvious ploy to delay any resolution to this case, this Court is complicit in the widespread harm to Texans who remain unable to make meaningful decisions about their own bodies," she added.

Catch up quick: Back in December, the Supreme Court allowed Texas' abortion law to remain in place, but said some lawsuits against the law could proceed. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote at the time that Texas abortion clinics can challenge the law’s constitutionality in court.

  • Texas’ law bans almost all abortions after effectively six weeks, before many people know they are pregnant.
  • The law’s enforcement is unprecedented because it encourages people — regardless of whether they’re in Texas or not — to sue those they suspect of providing or facilitating an abortion.

Following the court’s December decision, a U.S. appellate court transferred a challenge to the ban to the Texas Supreme Court earlier this week.

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