Supreme Court Will Hear Texas Abortion Ban Cases

Last week the Supreme Court granted requests to hear the challenges to SB 8, the law which has decimated abortion access in Texas, setting oral arguments in both cases for November 1. The Court decided NOT to block the law while they consider these cases. We look forward to patients and providers having their day in court, but it’s devastating that the Supreme Court has allowed this blatantly unconstitutional law to remain in place. 

The court drama around this Texas law has been a rollercoaster so we wanted to help you understand what this all means.

The two cases the court will weigh in on include:

  • United States v. Texas: a lawsuit challenging S.B. 8 filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier this month, a federal district court granted the DOJ’s request to temporarily block the law, but an appellate court let the law take effect again less than 48 hours later. The Supreme Court will decide whether to block the law again and whether the DOJ has the authority to bring this case.  

  • Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson: a case filed against S.B. 8 by a broad coalition of plaintiffs, including Texas abortion providers, abortion funds, and doctors. In this case, the Supreme Court will decide whether federal courts have the power to block Texas’ abortion ban. The ban was specifically designed to evade court review. In August, plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to block the ban before it took effect on Sept. 1, but the court refused. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments about whether Texas has the authority to pass a law that evades court review.

This means that the court will not directly weigh in on whether the Texas law, known as S.B. 8, violates the constitutional right to obtain an abortion. 

The November hearings are not the only threat to abortion in the courts. On December 1st, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether bans on abortion before viability are unconstitutional in a case in which the state of Mississippi is pushing to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

To dig into these cases and more, join Lift Louisiana and our partners at the Center for Reproductive Rights on November 18th for Roadmap for Reproductive Rights: Litigation Updates In and Around Louisiana. Registration is required.

For the latest on the Texas Abortion Ban (SB 8) - follow Rewire’s Special Report

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