The U.S. Supreme Court had decided to determine whether the Texas Heartbeat Act is constitutional, Breitbart reports.
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it has granted review to a number of abortion clinics that have filed a writ of certiorari with the court, challenging the anti-abortion law.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, as its name suggests, bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is generally around the six-week mark of the pregnancy. Since most women do not know that they are pregnant at this point, the law effectively bans abortions.
This Texas law is not the first of its kind. Several other states have tried to enact “heartbeat” acts but the laws have failed to legal challenges.
What makes Texas’s law different is its enforcement mechanism, which is left up to the people of Texas. Any Texas citizen can bring a civil lawsuit, for a minimum of $10,000, against any abortion provider or individual who “aids or abets” a “criminal abortion.”
The law went into effect on September 1st, after surviving a legal challenge that tried to prevent it from doing so. The Supreme Court, at that point, decided not to stop the law, but, importantly, the Supreme Court did not rule on the law’s constitutionality.
Since then, the law has been on the books for all but a 48-hour period when a district court judge granted a temporary injunction against it. The injunction was subsequently overturned, however, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
According to Breitbart, the Supreme Court “has been asked to decide whether a state can keep federal courts from reviewing a law that prohibits the ‘exercise of a constitutional right’ by giving the general public authority to enforce a law through civil actions.”
The petitioners are arguing that Texas’s Heartbeat Act violates Supreme Court precedents that hold that a state cannot ban abortions before the point of viability.
The Supreme Court is also expected to decide whether the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has the right to sue Texas to block the law from going into effect.
The court will hear oral arguments on November 1st.
Something to contemplate here is the fact that the Supreme Court, more or less, appears to have the authority to decide whether abortion ought to be permitted or not. Constitutionalists argue that such a controversial issue should be in the hands of the people through their elected representatives, not a group of unelected judges. The best outcome here for conservatives would be for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the Texas law, which would begin the process of returning the issue of abortion to state legislatures.