Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a set of cases challenging S.B. 8, Texas’ extreme six-week abortion ban that deputizes private citizens to serve as potential enforcers. The cases center not on the right to abortion itself but rather on the validity of the law’s bounty-hunter enforcement scheme, which was designed to undermine the constitutional right to abortion while avoiding judicial review. Maggie Jo Buchanan, acting director of the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
S.B. 8 has essentially eliminated abortion in Texas, making Roe v. Wade effectively meaningless for approximately 1 in 10 U.S. women of reproductive age. While we are encouraged that a majority of justices appeared to cast doubt on Texas’ scheme to avoid judicial review of the ban, we remain outraged that the court allowed the law to take effect nearly two months ago despite these clear legal issues. As a result, Texans seeking an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy continue to suffer irreparable harm. The court’s failure to block the law has most harmed people of color, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, immigrants, young people, and LGBTQ people, among others. Further, failing to block the law demonstrates the court’s clear hostility to abortion rights and underscores the vulnerability of Roe v. Wade’s nearly 50 years of precedent.
The court should immediately vacate the 5th Circuit’s ruling and enjoin the law. Failing to do so would not just inflict continued harm on Texans, but it would also encourage other states to pass their own post-judicial bills to undermine any constitutional right they disfavor. The threat to Roe shouldn’t be downplayed or ignored as we await the court’s decision in these two cases and in the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, when the right to abortion itself will be squarely in front of this far-right court.
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