The United States (US) Supreme Court has turned down a suit challenging the ban placed by the Texas Government on abortion of six weeks pregnancy in the state.
By a 5-4 vote, the court denied an emergency request by abortion and women’s health providers for an injunction on enforcement of the ban, which took effect hours earlier before the judgement.
The court judgement yesterday has dealt a major blow to abortion rights advocates by leaving in place a state law that prohibits the vast majority of abortions.
Outcomes of the court proceeding has been considered as a major milestone in the fight over abortion, as opponents have sought for decades to roll back access to the procedure.
A liberal Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, while reacting to the judgement, wrote in a dissenting opinion and described the court’s order as stunning.
“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.”
In an unsigned explanation, the court’s majority said the decision was “not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law” and allowed legal challenges to proceed.
The decision illustrates the impact of former Republican President Donald Trump’s three conservative appointees, who have tilted the court further right. All were in the majority.
An abortion-rights group claimed that the law would amount to a near-total ban on the procedure in Texas, as 85 percent to 90 percent of abortions were obtained after six weeks of pregnancy, and would probably force many clinics to close.
Such a ban has never been permitted in any state since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, in 1973.
Texas is among a dozen mostly Republican-led states to ban the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, often at six weeks and sometimes before a woman realizes she is pregnant.