The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday to allow federal court challenges against Texas’ restrictive and unusual abortionHowever, the court ruled to ban it but to keep the law in force while these challenges are considered.
Key votes were cast by conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, who both previously voted to allow the law to go into effect but signaled some apprehension about the law’s potential to set a wider precedent during a Nov. 1 hearing.
At that hearingAbortion providers and the Justice Department discussed grievances regarding the Texas law, which was in effect since Sept. 1. It effectively banned abortions after six weeks. At issue before the justices was the law’s enforcement mechanism, which deputizes private citizens, not the state, to enforce it and offers a $10,000 bounty to anyone who successfully sues someone for “aiding or abetting” patients violating the law.
This element of law protected the state from any lawsuits about the ban and enabled it to stay in effect, despite the clear conflicts with Roe V. Wade’s abortion protections.
It’s a “loophole that’s been exploited,” Kavanaugh said at the Nov. 1 hearing, pointing to concerns that the same mechanism could be used to shield gun control measures from lawsuits.
Barrett raised concerns that the law prevented abortion providers from exercising a “full constitutional defense.”
During the months the law has been in effect, Texas patients seeking abortions more than six weeks into term ― a period when many women do not even know they’re pregnant ― have been forced to travel out of the state for care, often spending hundreds of dollarsOn transportation and accommodations, as well as other costs associated with the procedure.
The law’s success, however, has prompted other states to introduce copycat billsWith similar enforcement language