The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block a ban on abortion in Texas


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A new Texas ban on abortion, the strictest in the country, stood on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block it, dealing a major blow to abortion rights leaving in force a state law banning the vast majority of abortions.

The decision is a major turning point in the fight against abortion, as opponents have been trying for decades to regain access to procedures.

Judges rejected by 5 to 4 votes an urgent request by abortion and health workers to issue a restraining order, which took effect early Wednesday and prohibits abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, while litigation continues.

The law would constitute an almost total ban on the procedure in Texas – the second most populous state in the United States – as 85% to 90% of abortions occur after six weeks of pregnancy and are likely to force many clinics to close, abortion rights groups said.

One of the court’s six conservatives, court president John Roberts, joined the three Liberals in disagreement.

“The court order is staggering,” Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a separate opinion.

“Presented with a request to promulgate a flagrantly unconstitutional law designed to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and avoid judicial oversight, most judges chose to bury their heads in the sand.”

Representatives of non-governmental organizations and women's rights for women's rights after the adoption of the Knesset law criminalizing the employment of prostitutes, December 31, 2018 (credit: MK SHULI MOALEM-REFAELLI OFFICE)Representatives of non-governmental organizations and women’s rights for women’s rights after the adoption of the Knesset law criminalizing the employment of prostitutes, December 31, 2018 (credit: MK SHULI MOALEM-REFAELLI OFFICE)

In an unsigned explanation, the majority of the court said that the decision “is not based on any conclusion on the constitutionality of the Texas law” and that it allows the continuation of legal disputes.

Most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in the United States, according to a Reuters / Ipsos study. About 52% said it should be legal in most or all cases, and only 36% said it should be illegal in most or all cases.

But that remains a deeply polarizing issue, as most Democrats support abortion rights and most Republicans oppose it.

The decision illustrates the impact of former Republican President Donald Trump’s three conservative terms on the country’s highest court, which have tilted it further to the right. They were all in the majority.

Such a ban has never been allowed in any state since the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 against Roe v. Wade, a significant ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country.

Texas is among a dozen states mostly run by Republicans and banning the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, often at six weeks, and sometimes before a woman realizes she is pregnant.

Courts have previously blocked such bans, citing Roe v. Wade.

The court’s lawsuit over the Texas injunction could hint at his approach in another case over Mississippi’s 15-week ban in which the state asked judges to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The court will hear the arguments in the mandate that begins in October, and the verdict should reach the end of June 2022.

Texas law is unusual in that it prevents government officials from enforcing the ban and instead gives private citizens that power by allowing them to sue anyone who provides or “helps or prevents” an abortion after six weeks, including a person driving someone to an abortion provider.

Citizens who win such lawsuits would be entitled to at least $ 10,000.

That structure has upset both abortion providers, who said they feel they now have prices on their heads, and legal experts who say citizen enforcement could have far-reaching consequences if used in the United States to address other contentious social issues.

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