As the legal battle unfolded in court, the Biden government asked the US Supreme Court to block a law in the state of Texas that prohibits most abortions in the territory.
The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to amend an appeals court ruling that would allow the law to remain in effect, while litigation over the policy continues.
The Republican-backed law prohibits abortion after detecting a heartbeat in the embryo, which usually occurs at six weeks’ gestation; a time when some women don’t even realize they are pregnant.
The law also allows citizens to sue people who may have facilitated an abortion after the fetus is six weeks old.
The Supreme Court has actually ruled on this issue previously in lawsuits filed by abortion service providers. By a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court in September allowed the law to remain in effect while legal battles continued.
But the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the validity of the Texas law.
Under former president Donald Trump – who briefly appointed three judges to a nine-judge body – the Supreme Court has become more conservative. Currently conservative judges hold the majority, which is 6 to 3.
Citizens Highlight How MA Handles Texas Abortion Law
The Supreme Court’s handling of the abortion issue is being closely watched after last month passed a Texas law that contains a number of restrictions. In late September, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments in the case that publicly challenged the Roe versus Wade ruling in December.
Roe versus Wade was a 1973 court ruling that gave women the constitutional right to have an abortion before the fetus was viable, usually at about 24 weeks of gestation.
The Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments on December 1 to hear a case about a Mississippi state law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case asked the judges to overturn the decision of Roe versus Wade.
The Supreme Court’s latest move has fueled speculation that a majority of judges are likely to legally limit abortion rights.
A Monmouth University poll last month found that 62 percent of Americans believe abortion should always be legal or legal with some restrictions. About 24 percent of residents said abortion should be declared illegal except in rare situations – such as rape. While 11 percent of residents said abortion should still be declared illegal. [em/jm]