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Abortion providers in Texas are asking the Supreme Court to quickly review the state’s new abortion law

  • Texas abortion providers asked the Supreme Court to quickly consider the state’s new anti-abortion law.
  • “This chaos must come to an end, and that is why we are going back to the Supreme Court today,” a president of an abortion clinic said.
  • The Supreme Court previously declined a request to block the Texas law, which took effect on September 1. 

A group of abortion providers and advocacy groups on Thursday once again turned to the Supreme Court in their effort to block Texas’ new law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which took effect on September 1.

The group is calling on the nation’s high court to intervene and fast-track the case, as the federal appeals court that is scheduled to review their challenge, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, won’t hold a hearing until December.

“This Court’s review is urgently needed,” read the brief filed on Thursday by Texas abortion providers, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and others. 

“We’re asking the Supreme Court for this expedited appeal because the Fifth Circuit has done nothing to change the dire circumstances on the ground in Texas,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

“We need this case to move as quickly as possible. Right now, patients are being forced to travel hundreds of miles in the middle of a pandemic to find abortion care,” she added. 

“For 23 days, we’ve been forced to deny essential abortion care for the vast majority of patients who come to us,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, an abortion clinic in Texas, said in a statement.

“This chaos must come to an end, and that is why we are going back to the Supreme Court today,” Miller continued. 

The ask comes after the Supreme Court previously declined a request from abortion providers in Texas to block the state’s new abortion law. In a 5-4 vote on September 2, the Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to stay in place.

The court’s majority argued that the ruling was a technical one and they did not want to weigh in while the case was still being litigated in the lower courts.  

“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 majority wrote in an unsigned opinion.

The move was met with fierce backlash from abortion providers and pro-abortion groups and politicians, including President Joe Biden. The Department of Justice on September 9 filed a lawsuit against Texas to try and block the new abortion law. 

Texas’ six-week abortion ban has so far withstood legal challenges because of its unique enforcement mechanism. The law invites ordinary citizens, rather than state officials, to enforce the ban. That means an individual can sue an abortion provider or anyone they believe who “aids and abets” someone getting the procedure beyond the six-week mark. Successful plaintiffs will be rewarded at least $10,000, in addition to legal fees.

It’s uncertain whether the Supreme Court will take up the abortion providers’ request, as cases are normally played out in the lower courts first before making their way up to the high court.

The Supreme Court will consider a major abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 
starting December 1. The case concerns a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and is widely considered a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the constitutional right to an abortion. 

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