Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Abortion service providers in Texas on Thursday asked the United States Supreme Court to intervene urgently in their challenge to a state law imposing a near-total ban on abortion ‘abortion.
The vendors have asked the judges to hear their case before lower courts have finished ruling on the dispute because of the “great prejudice caused by the ban.” The Supreme Court, which has a Conservative 6-3 majority, refused this month to block the law, which prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Texas law is unusual in that it gives private citizens the power to enforce it by allowing them to prosecute anyone who helps a woman to have an abortion after the six week deadline. This feature helped prevent the law from being immediately blocked, as it made direct prosecution of the government more difficult.
In their petition to the Supreme Court, abortion providers, including Whole Woman’s Health and other advocacy groups, said judges should decide whether the state can “shield” its law from court scrutiny. federal government by delegating its application to the general public.
The Supreme Court rarely agrees to hear a case before lower courts have had a chance to rule on their own decisions. But in the court’s 5-4 decision on September 1 to leave the law in force for the time being, dissenting justices, including Tory Chief Justice John Roberts, expressed skepticism about how the law is being applied.
Roberts said he would have blocked the application of the law at this point “so that the courts can consider whether a state can evade responsibility for its laws in this way.”
Providers said the ban had eliminated the vast majority of abortions in the state given the threat of “ruinous liability,” forcing Texans to travel hundreds of miles (km) to other states, causing arrears there.
“The Texans are in crisis,” they said in a legal file.
On September 9, Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration sued Texas, seeking to block Republican-backed law enforcement because fellow Democrats feared the abortion rights established in 1973 could be threatened.
The Texas law is the latest Republican-backed statewide measure restricting abortion.
The measure bans abortion at a time when many women do not even realize they are pregnant. Under the law, individual citizens can receive a minimum of $ 10,000 for successfully prosecuting those who perform or help others obtain an abortion that violates the ban.
The suppliers said they were forced to comply with the law because defending themselves against the lawsuits, even if they succeed, would amount to “costly and potentially bankruptcy harassment.”
The Supreme Court is already set to consider a major abortion case on Dec. 1 in a dispute centered on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, in which that state has asked judges to overturn the Roe v. Wade of 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide and ended. a time when some states had banned the procedure. A decision is due by the end of June 2022.
Report by Andrew Chung in New York; Edited by Will Dunham
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