Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion ban for second time
The Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ unconstitutional abortion ban for the second time on Friday. The court decided to postpone a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to suspend the law. Arguments are expected to be heard Nov. 1 over whether the DOJ has the right to challenge Texas law in court.
The conservative 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court has evaded constitutional violations of the Texas abortion ban since it was enacted two months ago. This was carried out on the fragile basis that the Supreme Court should not rule on a case while the lower courts are still debating its legality, and because Texas law has an unprecedented form of legal application for its ban on abortion.
Texas law prohibits all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Six weeks is long before an embryo can be scientifically considered to be a fetus, and long before most women even know they are pregnant. Reports from women’s health care providers show that abortions in the state have fallen by 80 percent since the law came into force.
Republican-led states have attempted to pass similar laws in the past, all overturned by the Supreme Court for violating the 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade.
However, this new law has no direct government application. Rather, it prohibits state employees from applying the law as a crime and instead passes the enforcement on to private citizens, who are encouraged to take self-defense measures and prosecute women and caregivers. health for having undergone or performed an abortion.
Because the state government transferred enforcement to civil courts, abortion advocates and far-right judges have argued that the Justice Department cannot prosecute to obtain a court order preventing law enforcement.
If the Supreme Court dismisses the DOJ’s arguments and allows Texas law to remain in force, it will indeed be a smooth reversal of Roe vs. Wade. While it is still in effect, Roe deer will be circumvented by additional laws in states across the country using similar tactics, using civil law to enforce a criminal ban on the right to abortion.
Federal District Judge Robert Pitman – who temporarily blocked the law for two days before the higher Fifth Circuit Court ruling reimposed it – warned that Texas had “deliberately bypassed the traditional process” and “drafted the law with the intention of preventing review by federal courts, which have an obligation to protect the very rights that the law is likely to violate.
This form of constitutional loophole would not only have disastrous consequences for women’s reproductive rights, but for democratic rights in general. If the law is allowed to remain in force, then “no decision of this court is certain,” the DOJ warned in a statement on Friday. “States do not need to comply with, or even challenge, precedents with which they do not agree. They can simply prohibit the exercise of the rights which they disadvantage; reject state enforcement; and delegating to the general public the power to bring harassment actions threatening ruinous liability. … Texas should not achieve a different result simply by pairing its unconstitutional law with an unprecedented enforcement regime designed to evade traditional mechanisms of judicial review.
In issuing similar warnings, the DOJ issued a statement on Friday urging the Supreme Court not to hear arguments from anti-abortion supporters arguing for the quashing of Roe vs. Wade and the 1992 affair Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which confirmed the right of women to have an abortion until 26 weeks of pregnancy.
Despite the risk to nationwide abortion rights, the Biden administration has done nothing but offer empty words of concern. Just as Democrats have abandoned all defense of the right to vote as Republican state legislatures restrict access to the vote across the country, they have offered no solution beyond leniency of the courts in defense of the right. to abortion.
Almost 50 years since Roe vs. Wade, the Democratic Party has made no concerted effort to codify abortion rights into law. In fact, abortion rights have come under constant attack from reactionary politicians who have imposed more federal restrictions on abortion than there have been protections.
The mass demonstrations that took place on October 2 against violations of the right to abortion demonstrate the overwhelming support of the population for the defense of the right to abortion. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, determined to demonstrate their commitment to defending democratic rights.
The same cannot be said of the Democratic Party-aligned leadership of these protests. They have consistently worked to channel mass outrage against abortion attacks behind the election campaigns of Democrats, who cynically used abortion as a campaign crutch for decades.
A real defense of abortion rights cannot take place through the Democratic Party or the courts.
In the Supreme Court’s decision to postpone a decision on the Texas abortion ban, only Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor disagreed. In her dissent, she wrote: “For the second time, the court is faced with a request to bar a law enacted in blatant disregard for the constitutional rights of women seeking abortion care in Texas. For the second time, the court refuses to act immediately to protect these women from serious and irreparable harm.
Other judges appointed by Democratic presidents are silent, potentially swayed by the promise to hear arguments on November 1. Until then, working class women in Texas will be forced to live under draconian law in blatant violation of the Constitution.
Another hearing scheduled nearby on Mississippi’s anti-abortion law, which attempts to ban abortion after 15 weeks, is Dec. 1. In this case, the state of Mississippi asks the Supreme Court to repeal Roe deer directly.
There is real potential for the conservative majority to use either law as a justification to overturn Roe vs. Wade, in one of the biggest setbacks in democratic rights in America in the 21st century.