clearn.png
Saturday September 25th, 2021 11:32PM

High court divides 5-4 to leave Texas abortion law in place

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — A deeply divided Supreme Court is allowing a Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in force, for now stripping most women of the right to an abortion in the nation’s second-largest state.

The court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others that sought to block enforcement of the law, which went into effect Wednesday. But the justices also suggested that their order likely isn't the last word on whether the law can stand because other challenges to it can still be brought.

The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant.

It is the strictest law against abortion rights in the United States since the high court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and part of a broader push by Republicans nationwide to impose new restrictions on abortion. At least 12 other states have enacted bans early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.

The high court's order declining to halt the Texas law came just before midnight Wednesday. The majority said those bringing the case had not met the high burden required for a stay of the law.

“In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts,” the unsigned order said.

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the court's three liberal justices. Each of the four dissenting justices wrote separate statements expressing their disagreement with the majority.

Roberts noted that while the majority denied the request for emergency relief “the Court’s order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue.”

The vote in the case underscores the impact of the death of the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year and then-president Donald Trump's replacement of her with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Had Ginsburg remained on the court there would have been five votes to halt the Texas law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called her conservative colleagues' decision “stunning.” “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” she wrote.

Texas lawmakers wrote the law to evade federal court review by allowing private citizens to bring lawsuits in state court against anyone involved in an abortion, other than the patient. Other abortion laws are enforced by state and local officials, with criminal sanctions possible.

In contrast, Texas' law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in facilitating abortions. Among other situations, that would include anyone who drives a woman to a clinic to get an abortion. Under the law, anyone who successfully sues another person would be entitled to at least $10,000.

In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan called the law “patently unconstitutional,” saying it allows “private parties to carry out unconstitutional restrictions on the State’s behalf.” And Justice Stephen Breyer said a “woman has a federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion during” the first stage of pregnancy.

After a federal appeals court refused to allow a prompt review of the law before it took effect, the measure’s opponents sought Supreme Court review.

In a statement early Thursday after the high court's action, Nancy Northup, the head of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents abortion providers challenging the law, vowed to “keep fighting this ban until abortion access is restored in Texas.”

“We are devastated that the Supreme Court has refused to block a law that blatantly violates Roe v. Wade. Right now, people seeking abortion across Texas are panicking — they have no idea where or when they will be able to get an abortion, if ever. Texas politicians have succeeded for the moment in making a mockery of the rule of law, upending abortion care in Texas, and forcing patients to leave the state — if they have the means — to get constitutionally protected healthcare. This should send chills down the spine of everyone in this country who cares about the constitution," she said.

Anti-abortion groups cheered the court's action.

“We are celebrating this decision for what it is, baby steps in the right direction toward the obvious conclusion that Roe is fatally flawed and must go," said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, in a statement.

Texas has long had some of the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions, including a sweeping law passed in 2013. The Supreme Court eventually struck down that law, but not before more than half of the state’s 40-plus clinics closed.

Even before the Texas case arrived at the high court the justices had planned to tackle the issue of abortion rights in a major case after the court begins hearing arguments again in the fall. That case involves the state of Mississippi, which is asking to be allowed to enforce an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

___

Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Remnants of Hurricane Ida hit US Open, creating some chaos
Even a retractable roof at the U.S. Open was no match for the heavy rain and wind the remnants of Hurricane Ida carried to Flushing Meadows
2:52AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Merkel steps down with legacy dominated by tackling crises
Angela Merkel will leave office as one of modern Germany’s longest-serving leaders and as a global diplomatic heavyweight
2:33AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Dodgers rally past Braves for sweep, Scherzer leaves after 6
Justin Turner and AJ Pollock singled home the tying and go-ahead runs through the same infield hole in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied past the Atlanta Braves 4-3 to complete a three-game sweep
2:25AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Effort underway to rescue girls soccer team from Afghanistan
An international effort is underway to evacuate members of Afghanistan's girls national soccer team and their families over fears of reprisal by the Taliban
1:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Civil rights museum honors Michelle Obama, grassroots group
Former first lady Michelle Obama and The Poor People’s Campaign have been chosen to receive Freedom Awards from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee
1:06AM ( 2 hours ago )
Lake Tahoe wildfire seemed controllable, then it wasn't
Last week, managers overseeing the fight against the massive wildfire scorching California’s Lake Tahoe region thought they could have it contained by the start of this week
12:43AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Ida remnants pound Northeast with rain, flooding, tornadoes
The remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through the mid-Atlantic states with at least two tornadoes, heavy winds and drenching rains
11:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
After Ida, small recovery signs amid daunting destruction
Residents of Louisiana communities hit hard by Hurricane Ida are seeing small signs of progress amid the need for a monumental recovery
11:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
Judge conditionally approves Purdue Pharma opioid settlement
A federal bankruptcy judge has approved with conditions a historic opioid settlement between Purdue Pharma and thousands of local and state governments
10:29PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Questioning a catchphrase: 'Pandemic of the unvaccinated'
This summer’s coronavirus surge has been labeled a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” by government officials from President Joe Biden on down
4:07PM ( 11 hours ago )
Louisiana man's personal levee no match for Ida's fury
A Louisiana man who built a levee around his home after Hurricane Katrina thought he was winning the battle against Hurricane Ida
3:17PM ( 11 hours ago )
Texas 6-weeks abortion ban takes effect, with high court mum
A Texas law banning most abortions in the state took effect at midnight, but the Supreme Court has yet to act on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold
2:58PM ( 12 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Biden meets Ukraine leader in long-sought Oval Office visit
President Joe Biden used his first meeting with a foreign leader since ending the war in Afghanistan to send the message that the United States — unburdened of its “forever war”— is determined to become a more reliable ally to its friends
9:32PM ( 5 hours ago )
California seeks gender neutral displays in large stores
California could soon force large department stores to display some child products in gender-neutral terms
9:19PM ( 5 hours ago )
Biden to survey Ida's storm damage in Louisiana on Friday
The White House says President Joe Biden will visit Louisiana on Friday to survey storm damage from Hurricane Ida
8:15PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Judge tosses Trump rollback of clean water safeguards
A federal judge has thrown out a Trump-era rule that ended federal protections for hundreds of thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways across the country
5:35PM ( 1 day ago )
Supreme Court orders 'Remain in Mexico' policy reinstated
The Supreme Court says the Biden administration likely violated federal law in trying to end a Trump-era program that forces people to wait in Mexico while seeking asylum in the U.S. With three liberal justices in dissent, the high court refused Tuesday to block a lower court ruling ordering the administration to reinstate the program informally known as Remain in Mexico
1:12AM ( 1 week ago )
Democrats face new hurdles in legal fight over redistricting
Both parties are bracing for a major legal fight over redistricting
2:45PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
The Latest: Moderna, Japan partner recall 1.6 million doses
Moderna Inc. and its Japanese partner are recalling more than 1 million doses of the U.S. drug maker’s coronavirus vaccine after confirming contamination reported last week was tiny particles of stainless steel
11:58PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Taiwan gets its first shipment of Pfizer vaccine
Taiwan has received its first Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine after a prolonged purchasing process that gave rise to a political blame game with China
11:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
Taiwan gets first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines after long delay
Taiwan has received its first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines after a prolonged purchasing process that gave rise to a political blame game with China
11:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Health
Clinics ask high court to block Texas 6-week abortion ban
Abortion providers in Texas are asking the Supreme Court to prevent enforcement of a state law that would allow private citizens to sue anyone for helping a woman get an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy
7:04PM ( 2 days ago )
Do the COVID-19 vaccines affect my chances of pregnancy?
Medical experts say there’s no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, influence your chances of getting pregnant
12:13AM ( 3 weeks ago )
The Latest: 4 tiny Georgia districts close in-person classes
Four tiny Georgia public school districts have temporarily shut down in-person instruction within days of starting school, saying high COVID-19 case counts among students and staff makes it unsafe to continue
10:08PM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Remnants of Hurricane Ida hit US Open, creating some chaos
Even a retractable roof at the U.S. Open was no match for the heavy rain and wind the remnants of Hurricane Ida carried to Flushing Meadows
2:52AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Merkel steps down with legacy dominated by tackling crises
Angela Merkel will leave office as one of modern Germany’s longest-serving leaders and as a global diplomatic heavyweight
2:33AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Dodgers rally past Braves for sweep, Scherzer leaves after 6
Justin Turner and AJ Pollock singled home the tying and go-ahead runs through the same infield hole in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied past the Atlanta Braves 4-3 to complete a three-game sweep
2:25AM ( 44 minutes ago )
India locks down Kashmir after top separatist leader's death
Indian authorities have cracked down on public movement and imposed a near-total communications blackout in disputed Kashmir after the death of Syed Ali Geelani, a top separatist leader and emblem of the region’s defiance against New Delhi
2:17AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Asian markets mixed ahead of US report on August employment
Asian stock markets are mixed after soft U.S. jobs data fueled optimism the Federal Reserve might feel less pressure to wind down stimulus
2:10AM ( 59 minutes ago )