Supreme Court allows challenge to Texas abortion law to continue but lets SB8 stand

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(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Texas’ near-total ban on abortions to stay in effect more than three months after a majority of justices allowed the law, SB8, to be implemented, denying women across the nation’s second most populous state a constitutionally-protected right.

But the court said abortion providers could continue with their challenge to the law.

The mixed decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, was at least a temporary victory for abortion providers and civil rights groups that had been challenging the law.

The court said, “the ultimate merits question — whether S.B. 8 is consistent with the Federal Constitution — is not before the Court. Nor is the wisdom of S.B. 8 as a matter of public policy.”

It dismissed a Biden administration request to stay enforcement of the Texas law.

During fast-tracked oral arguments heard earlier, many justices were openly skeptical about the Texas law’s unprecedented enforcement mechanism and what it could mean for other state attempts to limit constitutional rights.

SB8 bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and delegates enforcement to everyday citizens — rather than state officials — who can file civil lawsuits against anyone who “aids or abets” an unlawful procedure. Its state sponsors deliberately intended to circumvent federal court review, knowing that such a ban on its face violates constitutionally-protected abortion rights.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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