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Reuters/Tom Brenner/Supreme Court Building
Reuters/Tom Brenner/Supreme Court Building
USA News

US Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion law

by Premier Journalist

Texas has passed one of the most restrictive laws in the US, banning abortion from as early as six weeks. 

President Biden has condemned the law saying it blatantly violates women's rights and would significantly impair women's access to healthcare.  

The so-called Heartbeat Act also gives any individual the right to sue doctors who perform an abortion past the six-week point.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 early on Thursday to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others that sought to block enforcement of the law that went into effect Wednesday.

The court's majority said the decision wasn't based on whether the law was consitutional or not and that the door remained open for legal challenges. 

Texas lawmakers submitted a bill months ago that would restrict abortions as early as six weeks. While many pro-abortion advocates have pushed for a legal challenge at either the Supreme Court or federal court level, the law has not seen any action from higher courts to date.

The law states explicitly that abortions are banned as soon as ultrasound can detect a heartbeat within the foetus. Some medical experts are hesitant to support the  definition due to foetuses not developing physical hearts until much later in the developmental stage. Advocacy organizations filed an emergency application, telling the Supreme Court that they believe the ban would restrict up to 85 percent of abortions. The law would also make it difficult for many women, considering that many women do not recognize they are pregnant until well after the six-week mark.

It should be noted that the law is framed not as a criminal practice. Instead, it allows private citizens to sue abortion providers if suspected of providing abortions after the six-week mark. In theory, the law would allow citizens to be the ones to enforce or stop abortions locally, rather than actual law enforcement.

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