The Supreme Court late Wednesday declined to halt a Texas law banning abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy, allowing the nation's most restrictive measure to remain in effect.
The court ruled 5-4 against providing relief to abortion providers, who asked the Supreme Court on Monday to put the law, which outlaws most abortions in the state, on hold. Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal justices were in dissent.
The high court failed to act before the law took effect earlier Wednesday, and abortion providers in Texas informed women they would no longer offer the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy in compliance with the law. Then, nearly 24 hours later, the high court rejected the request from abortion rights supporters to block the law.
In its opinion, the majority acknowledged the abortion providers "have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue," but said their request to the court presents "complex and novel" procedural questions that prevented them from meeting their burden.
While the high court refused to stop the law while the legal fight continues, the majority said its decision "is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas's law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts."
The decision from the Supreme Court is a significant victory for anti-abortion advocates, who are looking to the high court's expanded 6-3 conservative majority — with three justices appointed by former President Trump — to chip away at Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion. The court is poised to hear this fall a case involving Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, and a decision upholding that measure could clear the way for more restrictive abortion laws.
In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the court's order "stunning" and said the law is a "breathtaking act of defiance — of the Constitution, of this court's precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas."
"Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand," she wrote.
The Texas law is the most restrictive abortion measure in the country, as it bars the procedure after six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before many women know they're pregnant. The coalition of abortion clinics and abortion rights supporters that sought the Supreme Court's intervention argued it defied the high court's precedents, under which states cannot outlaw abortions before fetal viability, which generally occurs around 24 weeks.
In the final hours Tuesday before the law took effect, Whole Woman's Health, which operates four clinics in Texas and is a plaintiff in the case, reported having full waiting rooms of patients seeking abortions. But as of Wednesday, the clinics would only provide the procedures if ultrasounds do not show cardiac activity in compliance with the law, Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health, told reporters.
A majority of the Supreme Court refused to even implement the basic legal principle of precedent for Roe. Roe is dead. The right to a woman's bodily autonomy is gone, and it can be freely taken by a state. And as I said yesterday, even if SCOTUS rules against Texas tomorrow, every clinic in the state will close, every patient will be doxxed, and every health care worker, clinic escort, and donor will be sued by unlimited individuals at a maximum penalty of $10k per suit, bankrupted and destroyed.
The law was designed to do this. And it worked.
More like it will be coming.
Your rights depend on which state you live in if you are a woman, full stop.
We warned you this was coming.
But, her emails.
Gilead is here.