Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Refusal To Block Texas Abortion Law Undermines Supreme Court’s Legitimacy
Press Statement

Washington, D.C. — After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law (S.B. 8) that bans abortion after six weeks—effectively prohibiting nearly all abortion care in the state—Jamille Fields Allsbrook, director of women’s health and rights at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

With the stroke of a pen in the dead of night, the Supreme Court has left standing a clearly unconstitutional law that seeks to eliminate the rights of women and pregnant people to determine what happens with their own bodies. This action took place without full briefing, oral argument, or a hearing.

The court’s refusal to halt a blatant violation of nearly 50 years of precedent is already having implications for the lives of people in Texas who are currently unable to access the care they need. Moreover, the court’s refusal to act jeopardizes the reproductive rights of millions around the country. It undermines the court’s legitimacy and represents a threat to the rule of law. The court effectively has condoned a devious and unprecedented enforcement plan constructed with the intent of circumventing well-settled law. This turns private citizens into bounty hunters and empowers anti-abortion vigilantes to sue anyone who provides assistance to a person accessing abortion care after six weeks. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent, “the Act is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”

Our nation’s highest court shouldn’t be allowed to operate in the dark without accountability. A single president shouldn’t have been allowed to appoint a third of the bench through a manipulation of rules deployed for political gain, causing it to lurch to the extreme right and fail to reflect the will of the people. The court’s action in this case demonstrates that it is essential to enact commonsense reforms, such as term limits and transparency measures, to ensure that the Supreme Court better serves and reflects the will of the people. And it’s now more urgent than ever for Congress to pass legislation to secure the right and ability to access legal abortion care, including the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].