AUSTIN (AP) — Texas may continue to ban most abortions after a federal appeals court Thursday rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to roll back a new law that has become the nation’s largest abortion ban in nearly 50 years.
It brings Texas law even closer to going back to the U.S. Supreme Court in September, which allows the state to ban abortions when heart activity is detected, usually around six weeks. No exceptions are made in cases of rape or incest.
Since then, Texan women have called abortion clinics in neighboring states, driving in the middle of the night, including patients younger than 12 years old.
The new U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision expands on a previous order that kept Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 in effect for now. restrictions remain.
It leaves the Department of Justice and Texas abortion providers a narrow path to try to stop the law; this has prevailed until now due to a unique structure that leaves the law to private citizens. Anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider for violating the law is entitled to at least $10,000 in damages, which the Biden administration says is a reward.
Despite numerous legal objections before and after the law came into effect on September 1, a court only suspended the restriction once, lasting only 48 hours.
During this short period of time, some Texas clinics rushed to offer abortions to patients past six weeks, but many more appointments were canceled after the 5th cycle took action to quickly reinstate the law. The Biden administration can now seek a rehearsal or go directly to the Supreme Court, just as abortion providers were unsuccessfully tried in August.
There were about two dozen abortion clinics in Texas before the law was enacted, and some may be forced to close if restrictions continue for longer, operators said.
The stakes for the future of abortion rights in the US in the coming months are already high. In December, the neoconservative majority in the Supreme Court ruled that Mississippi’s landmark Roe v. Wade will listen to his offer to reverse his decision .
A Supreme Court decision in 1992 prevented states from banning abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb at approximately 24 weeks of pregnancy. But Texas’ version has so far outstripped the courts as it hands over the sanction to private citizens.
Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, set up a hotline to receive allegations against abortion providers, but did not file any lawsuits.