The new request appears to face an uphill battle in the High Court as a previous submission by abortion providers for an emergency order blocking the law was rejected by judges, 5-4.
However, the Biden administration argued that the new request was on a more solid footing for technical reasons. Fletcher said the sovereign immunity doctrine undermines the case of abortion providers but poses no obstacle to the Justice Department’s lawsuit last month.
“This lawsuit does not raise these questions because it was brought against the state of Texas itself, and the state has no immunity from US lawsuits,” Fletcher wrote.
New Orleans 5th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to hold argument on Texas law in December, just as the Supreme Court is expected to rule on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and on the fate of nearly half a century. – old precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion, Roe vs. Wade.
The High Court is likely to act in the coming days or weeks on the latest request to freeze the enforcement of the Texas ban. But for now, nearly all abortions in the state have stopped, forcing those who can afford it to travel out of state for the procedure.
The Texas abortion ban went into effect on September 1 after judges failed to rule on the emergency motion from abortion providers before the law’s effective date. It wasn’t until the early hours of the next day that the High Court’s decision was released, formally rejecting the claim.
The judges’ decision not to intervene last month made Texas the first state to implement a ban on early pregnancy abortion since the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to process in 1973.
Texas law was designed to be difficult to preempt in court, as its enforcement depends on lawsuits brought by private parties rather than state or local prosecutors. The measure, dubbed the “heartbeat” law by its supporters, bans abortions once heart activity can be detected in the fetus – usually around six weeks after the onset of pregnancy.
Under the law, people who help someone obtain an abortion face a minimum sentence of $ 10,000 if they are successfully prosecuted under the law. The threat of such lawsuits – and a few of them filed in court in recent weeks – has led most state abortion providers to stop performing most abortions.
One of the biggest forces behind the law, anti-abortion advocacy group Texas Right to Life, has said that because of this unusual enforcement mechanism, they are confident that the law “will ultimately stand up to this legal challenge. and will succeed where heartbeat bills in other states have not. ”
The law was briefly blocked by Austin-based U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman on October 6, but was reinstated just 48 hours later by a 5th Circuit panel, which clinics say has caused chaos for patients across the state.
“When the Fifth Circuit panel suspended the preliminary injunction last weekend, more than 20 patients at Planned Parenthood health centers were denied emergency care – even though they had less than 24 access to it. hours ago, “said Helene Krasnoff of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We appreciate that the Department of Justice acted quickly to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.”
The law does not include any exemptions for victims of rape or incest, and it prompted patients as young as 12 to search for abortion clinics within hours of driving in neighboring states.