The text, adopted by elected Republican officials in May, prohibits abortion as soon as the fetal heartbeat is detected, i.e. within six weeks of pregnancy.
Two months after refusing to intervene, the United States Supreme Court is urgently examining a law in Texas this Monday banning most abortions. Its nine magistrates, including six conservatives, will hold a two-hour hearing with serious human and political consequences on the parties involved in the case.
The U.S. Legislature has accepted two separate appeals from Democratic Party leader Joe Biden’s government and family planning agencies seeking to overturn legislation that is “clearly unconstitutional.”
Call for condemnation
The text, adopted in May by elected Republican officials from this vast southern state, prohibits abortion once the fetus’ heart rate has been detected, that is, within six weeks of pregnancy, when women are often unaware that they are pregnant. In the event of a medical emergency, this provides an exception.
Many conservative states have adopted comparable laws, but they have all been blocked in court for violating the Supreme Court judiciary. It recognized the right of women to have abortions in 1973 and stated that they would apply until the fetus was impossible or up to 22 weeks of gestation.
However, Texas law has a unique device: its use is delegated “exclusively” to citizens. They are encouraged to file a complaint against any person or organization that assists a woman in an illegal abortion, promising to pay at least $ 10,000 in compensation if convicted.
This mechanism complicates the intervention of federal justice because the constitution restricts “situations in which the state can be prosecuted,” recalled Mary Ziegler, a law professor and expert in legal battles related to abortion.
“The Supreme Court has created an exception that prevents an official representative of a state from using a constitutional law,” he explains. “But Texas law does not involve any officer” so there is no one to sue the plaintiffs.
The law was seized for the first time on September 1 to prevent it from coming into force, citing these “new questions of practice” for the Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene. This position caused a commotion on the left. It “causes confusion” and “insults the rule of law”, particularly attacking President Biden.
Underground, fearing an avalanche of costly cases, clinics have adhered to the new legal framework, so the number of abortions has halved from about 2,100 in September to 4,300 in the same period. To the University of Texas for study.
To recall the human shares of the file, the system Planned Parenting Thirty pages of testimony from patients and doctors affected by the law were sent to the court.
Four judges to disable the law?
However, during the trial, judges should dedicate themselves only to practical matters. Their decision can fall at any time.
At least four judges are ready to block the law: three progressives and Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote it on September 1. “The question is whether there will be a fifth vote to change the majority,” Texas law professor Steve Vladek said on the podcast. Everything.
Family planning companies show cautious optimism.
“We are convinced that the court (…) rejects the infamous maneuver of Texas,” said Amy Hoxstrom Miller, head of All Women’s Health. Alexis McGill Johnson of Planned Parenthood said the law “hopes the court will block it.”
According to Mary Ziegler, even if the court’s whistle blows the outcome of the game in Texas, “it probably does not change the fact that it will change” in another case the abortion rights are revoked.
The High Court agreed on December 1 to review the Mississippi law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. “This file, the judges of the court chose to remove their judiciary,” the expert assesses that “Texas is a distraction imposed on them by the conservatives of this state.”