The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Texas in a 5 to 4 vote on Wednesday, refusing to block a new state law that bans the majority of abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, according to CNBC.
The clinics and abortion rights advocates who appealed to the court argued the Texas law contradicts previous rulings, which established that states could not prohibit abortions around 24 weeks.
The majority opinion stated that the abortion rights coalition had not met the high burden the court requires.
“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 unsigned order said.
Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the three Democratic appointees: Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Sotomayor described the law as “patently unconstitutional,” and said Texas had “deputized” its “citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures,” according to CBS News.
The measure effectively bans abortions for women over six weeks pregnant if doctors have “detected a fetal heartbeat.” It also enables anyone to file a lawsuit against businesses that provide abortion services. The legislation took effect yesterday as the most severe infringement of abortion rights in nearly five decades.