Supreme Court scheduled to hear Texas abortion law arguments

On Monday, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will hear two cases having to do with Texas’s latest anti-abortion law, the Texas Heartbeat Act, Politico reports

As its name suggests, the law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically around the sixth week of pregnancy.

The law went into effect on Sept. 1st, after surviving some initial legal challenges. Since then, abortions in the state of Texas have virtually come to a halt.

Now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court as it considers two challenges to the Texas Heartbeat Act.

The cases

The two cases are Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas.

Notably, SCOTUS will not be considering whether or not to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that gave women the right to seek abortion services around the country. The state of Texas has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe, but it is unlikely that it will directly confront the case at this time.

Instead, the lawsuits concern the structure of Texas’ law, including its rather unique enforcement mechanism. That enforcement mechanism has been put into the hands of Texas residents, who are allowed to bring a civil lawsuit against anyone who furthers an abortion. Critics claim that this enforcement mechanism has allowed Texas to skirt the law.

The case brought by the U.S. government is looking to halt the citizen enforcement of the Texas law while litigation is taking place.

Rocky road

As stated, the Texas Heartbeat Act has already survived a number of legal challenges. That includes one challenge that made it to the Supreme Court.

Importantly, though, the justices did not touch upon the merits of the case in that ruling. They merely ruled against granting emergency relief, which would have halted the Texas law.

Although the Supreme Court fast-tracked those cases, it is unclear how long it will take for the justices to issue an opinion.

Roughly one month from now, the Supreme Court will hear another potentially landmark abortion case stemming from a law passed earlier this year in Mississippi. The outcome could change or shape abortion law, one way or another, for decades to come.

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