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Supreme Court again declines to block Texas abortion law


Demonstrators hold signs at the Women’s March ATX Rally in Austin, Texas on Oct. 2. Associated Press/Photo by Stephen Spillman

Supreme Court again declines to block Texas abortion law

The justices announced Friday that Texas’ heartbeat law will remain in place while a legal review is pending. The Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments on Nov. 1, a quick timetable, to consider the law, which protects babies from abortion when they have a detectable heartbeat at around six weeks. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, writing that she would have blocked the law by now. Abortion centers estimate abortions have dropped by 80 percent since the protections took effect in September. Texas Right to Life reported 3,000 babies’ lives saved as of Sept. 30.

What’s at stake? The hearing will not address the ban itself but the process the Texas Legislature took to create it. The heartbeat law’s enforcement mechanism allows private citizens to sue those involved in an abortion. The Supreme Court will consider whether a law may be written so that the state cannot enforce it. The hearing will also determine whether the Justice Department can sue Texas over the law. 

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ report on how pregnancy center staff in Texas have adjusted to new demands under the heartbeat law.


Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.

@CarolinaLumetta

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