On Jan. 20, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt another blow to the abortion industry by rejecting a request to remand Texas’ six-week abortion law back to a federal district court.
The law, known as S.B. 8 or the Texas Heartbeat Act, bans most abortions in the state after a baby’s heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks’ gestation. Under S.B. 8, private individuals are permitted to bring suit in state court against people who allegedly perform abortions.
On Dec. 10, the Supreme Court decided that the law could remain in place while the case—Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson—continues in the lower courts, but also ruled that abortion clinics could proceed with their challenge to the law by suing a limited group of state licensing officials.
The case was sent back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. But on Jan. 17, the 5th Circuit sent the case to the Texas Supreme Court to determine whether state licensing officials are appropriate defendants.
In turn, abortion providers went back to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask that the justices return the case to the federal trial court, arguing that the decision to send the case to the Texas Supreme Court is an unnecessary delay tactic.
On Jan. 20, the majority agreed to allow the case to remain in the hands of Texas’ high court. The court’s three liberal justices—Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan—dissented.
“With today’s ruling, the lawsuit will continue in the appropriate venue, and the Texas Heartbeat Act will continue to save preborn lives,” wrote Texas Right to Life in a statement.
The decision came just before the 49th March for Life, and annual pro-life rally which calls for the end of Roe v. Wade. Each year, the March concludes at the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Above: Supreme Court police officers stood outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 1, while the justices heard arguments in a challenge to the controversial Texas abortion law.
Photo: UPI/Alamy Stock Photo