Top Line

Texas’ near-complete ban on abortion will remain in effect as the Justice Department’s legal challenge against it unfolds, with a conservative appeals court issuing a stay that blocks the law’s lower court injunction.

important facts

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to keep the law in effect, saying a lower court order that blocked the law “violates the separation of powers at every turn.”

The appeals court, widely considered the most conservative in the country, previously put Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB8) into effect back on Friday until it could consider the matter more fully.

A district court judge blocked the law from coming into force on October 7 while the Justice Department’s challenge worked its way through the courts, stating that SB8—which prohibits nearly all abortions—after six weeks Prohibits and allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids and abets” abortion—an “aggressive deprivation” of a “significant” right to abortion.

Texas was argued The law must be reinstated for the 5th Circuit, saying that the appeals court is required to “confirm” the state’s interest in preventing a federal district court from superintending every Texas court.

the justice department warning The Court of Appeals of Permanent Consequences should uphold the law despite violating the US Supreme Court’s precedent, summing up that if the law is considered “permissible, no constitutional right is protected from such state-sanctioned subversion.” Is.”

what to see

The court’s decision means that SB8 will remain in effect for the immediate future as the DOJ’s challenge makes its way through the courts, although the Biden administration may choose to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. The conservative-leaning High Court has once ruled in favor of SB8 in a lawsuit brought by abortion providers, but only because the majority believed it was too soon to bring the litigation. However, the court itself did not rule on the constitutionality of the law and held that its decision should not prevent other matters on law from being brought up in the future.

what we don’t know

How many abortion providers in Texas and others could now face legal liability as the law is back in effect. At least one major abortion clinic in Texas resumed abortion procedures after six weeks, when the law was briefly reversed, although the 19th reports Ultimately only a few abortions were performed because of the state’s mandated 24-hour waiting period. Thanks to a provision in the law that doesn’t allow anyone to sue under SB8, saying the law was blocked at the time they offered abortions, it means those providers will be charged. Now any private citizen can sue.

tangent line

A coalition of 19 medical organizations sided with the Biden administration in filing an amicus curiae brief The appeals court held that SB8 “violates the fundamental principles governing the practice of medicine and endangers the life and welfare of women of reproductive age.” Signatories to the brief included the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Nursing, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and the American Psychiatric Association.

main background

SB 8 took effect on September 1 and became a major source of national controversy, as the law marks the most restrictive abortion laws in the US to have taken effect since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The Biden administration sued Texas in early September. Attempts by abortion providers to block SB8 followed failed, arguing that the state had violated the federal government’s sovereignty by outlawing nearly all abortions. The provision of SB 8 empowering private citizens, not government officials, to enforce the law, was designed to make it difficult for such lawsuits to succeed, as it would be more difficult for the government to sue defendants without taking action. Tough ones that can actually be stopped from enforcing the law. Texas tried to use that defense when debating the case before U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman, but the judge ruled that Texas courts could not accept lawsuits filed under SB 8, which could be held by any private citizen. classified under the law as a “state actor”. The 5th Circuit’s decision on SB8 could have national implications beyond Texas, as have lawmakers in many others. states Has expressed intent to pass laws that mimic SB8 because of the likelihood that they will not be reversed. A Florida legislator became the first to introduce such legislation in September, and a legislator in Arkansas became said He will introduce a bill when the special session of the state legislature begins on October 25.

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