Pro-abortion advocates might have reason to be nervous following a recent announcement by the nation’s highest court.
According to the Daily Wire, the U.S. Supreme Court moved on Thursday to send a case related to a strict Texas abortion ban to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
“With instructions to dismiss”
Formally called S.B. 8, the law is commonly known as the Texas Heartbeat Act and prohibits most abortions in the state after six weeks of pregnancy.
Under its provisions, anyone aside from the woman receiving an abortion can be held liable for violating the law and face fines of up to $10,000. Fox News reported in October that the law forced abortion clinics statewide to close their doors.
Supreme Court justices ruled earlier this month that the law can remain in effect while it is being litigated.
Although the court’s five conservative justices agreed last week that the law could proceed amid ongoing challenges, Justice Clarence Thomas noted that he believed that even more should be done.
“I would reverse in full the District Court’s denial of respondents’ motions to dismiss and remand with instructions to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction,” he said, according to Fox News.
The Daily Wire noted that abortion providers challenging the state law have sought to have the case remanded to U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman, who issued an injunction in October against S.B. 8 as part of a 113-page ruling excoriating the law as unconstitutional.
“A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established,” Pittman wrote at the time. “Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the State contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that.”
Instead of sending the case to him, however, the Supreme Court opted for an appeals panel dominated by Republican nominees and on which former President Donald Trump had a significant impact.
Of its 17 members, 12 were put there by GOP presidents — including six by Trump alone.
Among those appointed by Trump is Judge James Ho, who once decried abortion as a “moral tragedy.”