Supreme Court to review Texas abortion law

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review Texas’ controversial abortion ban on Nov. 1. However, they refused to block the law during the examination process, during which they will decide whether the Department of Justice has the right to sue to block the law.

According to the order, the Supreme Court will consider the following questions, rather than consider its constitutionality:

  • Whether “the state can insulate from federal-court review a law that prohibits the exercise of aa constitutional right by delegating to the general public the authority to enforce that prohibition through civil acation”; and
  • if the United States can “insulate from federal-court review a law that prohibits the exercise of a constitutional right by delegating to the general public the authority to enforce that prohibition through civil action”;

In the order, Justice Sonia Sotomayer voiced partial dissent, writing that she would have blocked the law now. “The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now. These women will sufer personal harm from delaying their medical care, and as their pregnancies progress, they may even be unable to obtain abortion care altogether.”

The action hints at a split among the justices. To grant review in a case, it takes the votes of only 4 justices. However, to reverse a lower court decision like this one, it takes 5.

Providers say their ability to stay open is threatened by the longer the law stays in effect. In 2013, another restrictive Texas anti-abortion law led to closing of half the state’s 40+ clinics. The Supreme Court struck that law down in 2016, but some clinics never reopened, according to the Associated Press.

The law has been in effect since September 3 and the court will hear the challenge to the law on November 1.