By a vote of 6-3, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday dealt yet another loss to opponents of Texas’ controversial abortion ban, declining to remand the law back to a federal district court for what would likely be more rapid adjudication, as Fox News reports.
Those standing in opposition to the ban asked the high court to return a lawsuit against the restrictions to a lower federal court after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the matter to the Texas Supreme Court, which may have a far more protracted timeline than abortion providers in the state would like, as CNBC noted.
Opponents of the law argued that the appellate order at issue served no purpose other than to stall the progress of the litigation and keep clinics from providing abortion services past six-weeks’ gestation, according to CBS News.
The practical effect of the ruling is that the ban, which has generated a firestorm of controversy and stoked panic on the left about the ultimate fate of Roe v. Wade, will almost certainly remain in place for at least the near term, perhaps much longer.
As such, abortion providers in Texas are worried that their legal challenge may not be concluded before the high court issues a ruling in another potentially pivotal case out of Mississippi that could indeed result in the upending of the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned a scathing dissent in which Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined, saying, “Instead of stopping a Fifth Circuit panel from indulging Texas’ newest delay tactics, the Court allows the State yet again to extend the deprivation of the federal constitutional rights of its citizens through procedural manipulation,” adding, “the Court may look the other way, but I cannot.”
Alexis McGill Johnson, CEO of Planned Parenthood, was similarly enraged by the decision, saying, “Once again the Supreme Court has betrayed the people of Texas, who have been callously stripped of their constitutional right to abortion for more than four months now.”
Johnson continued, as Fox News noted, “By enabling the state’s obvious ploy to delay any resolution to this case, this Court is complicit in the widespread harm to Texans who remain unable to make meaningful decisions about their own bodies,” and she characterized the situation as “inhumane.”
Whether the high court is indeed poised to upend Roe and its progeny this year remains to be seen, but it is clear that the stakes could not be higher for advocates on both sides of an issue that has divided the country for decades.