The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider two legal challenges to Texas’ pro-life heartbeat law, just weeks before it hears oral arguments in another major abortion case.
Both the Biden administration and abortion providers had challenged the Texas Heartbeat Act, a law which went into effect Sept. 1 and which restricts most abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat. The law is enforced through private civil lawsuits.
On Friday, Oct. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider both challenges to the law and expedited the cases, with oral arguments scheduled for Nov. 1. The court will consider whether the federal government can sue to block implementation of the law by the state, state courts, and private citizens; it will also consider whether lawsuits under the law can move forward, according to the website SCOTUSBlog.
In the meantime, the court is leaving the law in place as it considers both cases.
In her opinion accompanying the court order on Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the court’s refusal to temporarily block the law while considering challenges to it.
“The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now,” Sotomayor wrote. “These women will suffer personal harm from delaying their medical care, and as their pregnancies progress, they may even be unable to obtain abortion care altogether.”
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