The United States Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a new Texas law brought by abortion providers. The law prohibits an abortion of an unborn baby once a heartbeat is able to be detected in an ultrasound. Known as the “heartbeat bill” the law went into effect September 1, and the challenge was rejected by the Supreme Court less than 24 hours later.
The Supreme Court’s rejection “came down along ideological lines, with chief Justice John Roberts and the Court’s three liberal justices dissenting” in a 5-4 decision, reports National Review.
Justice Roberts, appointed by former President George Bush, “split with his conservative colleagues in favor of blocking the ban but acknowledged that many questions regarding the technicalities of the law still remain.”
The Court’s opinion reads, “In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit.”
“In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts” the opinion continued.
“The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue. But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden,” the per curium, the unsigned court opinion from the majority, read.
Essentially, the substantive constitutionality of the law is not what was rejected by the Court, but rather that the “abortion providers who brought the challenge had not adequately addressed the novel procedural questions associated with a law that empowers private individuals, rather than state officials, to enforce an abortion ban” writes National Review.
President Biden issued a statement Thursday lambasting the Supreme Court’s refusal to block the Texas law. Biden claimed the court’s ruling would generate “unconstitutional chaos” empowering private citizens to enforce a ban on abortion. He vowed to use a “whole-of-government” approach to respond to the law. Biden accused the court of denying women “critical reproductive care” of abortions and consequently allowing millions to “suffer.”