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Supreme Court tackles Texas abortion law

A Georgetown student, a woman with Catholics for Choice, and a Washington resident protest Texas’ abortion law in front of the Supreme Court on Monday. Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

Supreme Court tackles Texas abortion law

Justices listened to three hours of oral arguments on Monday over Senate Bill 8, the Texas law that protects babies from abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of gestation. The court will decide whether to allow two cases to move forward, one from abortionists and one from the Justice Department. The law allows private citizens to sue abortionists and others who help perform abortions. The Supreme Court is only reviewing how the Texas law was set up, not whether abortions should be legal. It will focus on whether a state may create a law that courts and the government cannot enforce. 

What did the justices say at the hearing? While some were open to considering ways that abortionists can challenge the law, many were hesitant about the Justice Department case. Chief Justice John Roberts said he was concerned about setting the precedent that the federal government can sue over a state law. The court twice declined to block S.B. 8 prior to hearing arguments, but justices agreed to fast-track it through the appeals process. The ban that protects babies has prevented roughly 80 percent of abortions in Texas since it took effect Sept. 1, but abortionists in neighboring states testified on Monday many pregnant women have traveled to them instead.

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ report on new abortion drugs for women who don’t want to know whether they are pregnant.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Washington, D.C.



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