(UnitedVoice.com) – Is it possible the US Supreme Court is inching closer to overturning the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling that established legal abortions? It’s been an ambitious goal of Conservatives for decades, and in Texas, it’s an almost inevitable reality. In May, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation into law to make it illegal to perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected — about six weeks gestation. On Wednesday, September 1, the Supreme Court refused to hear an emergency appeal by Texas abortion clinics, handing pro-life advocates a significant short-term victory.
The high court’s refusal to hear the emergency appeal upholds a lower court ruling and allows the Texas law to take effect immediately as the case makes its way through the court system. Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson argued on Wednesday the ruling is a de facto reversal of Roe v. Wade. Additionally, the abortion activist said Texas just turned back the clock 50 years as the Lone Star state essentially created a dangerous pre-Roe v. Wade environment leaving some women desperate.
Did the Supreme Court Offer De Facto Overruling of Roe v. Wade?
So, what does Texas’ new law accomplish? Beyond prohibiting terminations past six weeks of pregnancy, the law also deputizes citizens to help enforce it. Anyone can now file a civil lawsuit against an abortion provider or anyone who facilitates the illegal activity. That could even include a person who drives a pregnant woman to receive an abortion. Those who provide the procedure and aid in the process could pay $10,000 to the person who files the lawsuit.
The law ends the brutal practice of dismembering a fetus and humanizes extreme, out-of-date abortion laws. At around six weeks gestation, the tissue that eventually becomes a heart starts beating, and many believe that criterion is enough to protect an unborn life.
While the Supreme Court didn’t rule directly on the case, its silence speaks volumes. Both a federal district court in Austin and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to issue a stay of the new law. However, while abortion activists litigate the Texas law, a separate case could put the Roe v. Wade decision to bed once and for all. In May, justices agreed to hear a Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks. If the court rules in favor of the state, it will effectively overturn Roe v. Wade. The High Court will hear the case this fall, with a decision looming in 2022.
Anti-Abortion Groups Begin Enforcement Actions
Surveillance of abortion groups is underway. Texas Right to Life (TRL) spent weeks setting up tip lines for people to report illegal activities anonymously. The group plans to take the information to file lawsuits against abortion providers. TRL spokesperson Kimberlyn Schwartz said tiplines is one way to monitor abortion providers but didn’t rule out other methods to ensure abortion providers follow the law.
Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas say they notice surveillance is increasing. They believe people are taking pictures of vehicles and license plates from parking lots.
As the courts continue to rule in Texas’ favor, abortion groups believe other states will copycat the Texas law and make abortions harder throughout the country. Conservatives are hoping they are right.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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