The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a challenge to Texas’ near-total abortion ban to proceed but left the law in effect while it is litigated, The New York Times reports.
The Supreme Court’s ruling offered a mixed bag to pro-choice advocates.
The court in an 8-1 decision said that abortion providers in the state can sue state officials in federal court even though the law leaves enforcement of the ban to citizens and non-government officials.
But the law will remain on the books in the meantime, meaning that women will not be able to get an abortion after six weeks, before most know they are pregnant.
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.”
Dismisses DOJ motion:
The court on Friday also dismissed a motion by the Biden administration to issue a stay of the law while the case is litigated.
The Justice Department filed its own lawsuit challenging the law on constitutional grounds.
The law bans abortion after six weeks and delegates enforcement to citizens, who can file lawsuits against anyone who “aids or abets” an illegal abortion and win $10,000.
The law was written to avoid federal court review by barring state officials from enforcing the law.
Texas judge says law is unconstitutional:
The ruling came one day after a Texas judge ruled that the abortion ban violates the Texas Constitution, according to the Texas Tribune.
But the judge did not issue an injunction to stop the law and the order only has direct consequences for 14 lawsuits that the judge is overseeing.
Texas Right to Life, an anti-choice group that has been instrumental in creating the law, vowed to appeal the order.
The judge ruled that Texas Right to Life cannot file lawsuits against 14 plaintiffs for helping others get an illegal abortion, including doctors and Planned Parenthood. But the judge allowed other parties or individuals to file suits.