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People protesting Texas' abortion ban outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Oct. 2. Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

A three-judge panel for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied the Department of Justice's emergency request to suspend Texas' abortion ban, which bars the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.

Why it matters: The ruling allows the ban to continue to be enforced as the courts consider the law's constitutionality. It's one of the most restrictive bans to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

The big picture: The Supreme Court, which allowed the law to go into effect in September, has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the law.

  • The Justice Department can now appeal the 5th Circuit's denial to the Supreme Court.

Go deeper: The vanishing access to abortion providers

Go deeper

What the Supreme Court ruling on abortion could mean for Minnesota

Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Abortion will remain legal in Minnesota if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or significantly curtails Roe v. Wade, though such a ruling could eventually impact access in the state.

Driving the news: The nation's high court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a case involving a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Mississippi's attorney general has asked justices to overturn the 1973 ruling, which set a precedent for the constitutional right to abortion, and subsequent decisions.
Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Dec 3, 2021 - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

Advocates see "opportunity" in abortion fight to galvanize Democratic voters

Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson speaks during an abortion rights rally in October. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March

Abortion rights advocates believe the Supreme Court fight over Mississippi's strict abortion bill has the potential to turn the political script: galvanize Democratic voters, instead of its historic ability to drive turnout among Republicans.

What they're saying: "The opportunity is that people are enraged," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, told Axios in an interview. "What we saw in Texas, and what people will walk away from [the Mississippi oral arguments with], is a level of rage that we could be living in a world six months from now — where our children have fewer rights than we have right now."