(Washington) The United States Supreme Court offered anti-abortion opponents a huge victory on Wednesday night and refused to suspend a Texas law that bans abortion after six weeks of gestation, even if rape or incest.
Posted on September 1, 2021 at 10:12 am Updated September 2, 2021 at 12:39 pm
Charlotte PLANTIVE Agence France-Presse
The High Court, which is very divided with four of its nine judges, does not decide on the constitutionality of the law that came into force 24 hours before, but appeals to “questions of complex and new proceedings”.
Without waiting for his decision, President Joe Biden on Wednesday criticized a “radical” law with “shameful” provisions and promised to “protect” women’s right to abortion.
The text, signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in May, forbids abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, around six weeks of gestation, when most women don’t even know they are pregnant.
The law makes no exception in the case of rape or incest, but only if the health of the pregnant woman is at risk.
However, more than 85% of all abortions performed in Texas to date occur after six weeks of gestation, according to state family planning organizations that reported their dire need Wednesday.
“I woke up sad, worried, stunned,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, director of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas, in a briefing.
One of them in Fort Worth performed abortions until 11:56 p.m. Tuesday evening but had to stop with some patients who remained in the waiting room. “The doctors cried and asked me, ‘What can we do for you?’ said Mrs. Miller.
“Patients are scared, confused, and angry,” added Vanessa Rodriguez, who runs Planned Parenthood’s call centers in Texas. “We’re doing our best to help them … we’re looking for dates in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico …”
Conversely, the anti-abortionists cheered. “This is a historic moment in the struggle to protect women and children,” commented Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA list group, while the organization LifeNews published a photo montage of a fetus with a thumbs up as a sign of satisfaction on Twitter.
Off Texas, twelve states passed laws banning abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat can be heard. These laws have all been invalidated in court for violating the case law of the Supreme Court, which recognizes a right to abortion as long as the fetus is not viable, around 22 weeks of gestation.
But Texas has phrased its law differently: it is not up to the authorities to enforce the measure, but “exclusively” to citizens who are encouraged to bring civil lawsuits against organizations or individuals who assist women with abortions.
The text provides that if convicted, these citizens will receive at least $ 10,000 in “compensation”. Critics of the text see this as a “bonus” for the prosecution, but its defense lawyers have already set up forms on the Internet to deposit “anonymous information”.
For procedural reasons, this device makes it difficult for the federal courts to intervene, which have so far refused to take action against the law.
As a result, defenders of the right to abortion had to go directly to the Supreme Court. However, contrary to its custom, the Supreme Court did not intervene in time to prevent the text from coming into effect.
It sends “a strong message,” commented abortion rights historian Mary Ziegler on the Scotusblog site. “Saying nothing suggests that there is no urgency […] and marks a fundamental break with the respect that its judges have always shown on both sides in abortion cases.
Since the arrival of three Conservative judges chosen by Donald Trump [sur neuf], anti-abortion opponents compete in their representations to give the Supreme Court the opportunity to pass its landmark 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade, who recognized women’s right to abortion in the United States.
And the country’s highest court has already sent them encouraging signals: it decided to review a Mississippi law this fall that would prevent most abortions after the 15th
According to an NBC poll released Wednesday, 54% of Americans believe abortion should be legal and 42% illegal in most cases.