Texas conservatives praise SCOTUS decision on Senate Bill 8 as abortion rights groups condemn decision
One hundred days after the law came into effect, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling on the Texas six-week abortion ban that was far from clear: Texas cannot waive its ban, known as Senate Bill 8, under federal court consideration. by outsourcing the execution to individuals, but the law remains in force, at least for now.
As reactions to the court ruling poured in, President Joe Biden said “while it is encouraging that the court has ruled that part of the vendor trial may continue, this ruling reinforces the fact that it remains still a lot of work to do – in Texas, Mississippi and many states across the country where women’s rights are currently under attack. “
“Today’s decision is an attempt to undo – in terms of what’s going on in Texas in particular and the country – 50 years of precedent,” Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday. “And as far as I am concerned and as far as our administration is concerned, a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body is non-negotiable.”
Representatives of the Republican state welcomed the court’s decision. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the decision “another victory on the books!”
“BIG VICTORY !! The Biden v Texas case has been sent out of court !! This morning’s SCOTUS decision leaves SB8 in effect, ”Paxton tweeted on Friday. “I will continue to defend #Texas law and FIGHT FOR LIFE !!! ”
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who helped lead SB 8 in the legislature, tweeted: “Texas is a solidly #anti-abortion State, and I will never stop fighting to protect the innocent lives of the radical left from abortionists. A great victory for unborn children!
State Senator Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, who wrote SB 8 and even traveled to Washington for oral argument on November 1, said that “leaving the Texas Heartbeat Act in place today , the Supreme Court affirmed two fundamental conservative principles: the sanctity of life and the sovereignty of States.
“It’s a total victory for life, and it’s long overdue” Hughes tweeted.
“The Supreme Court basically struck down Roe today. While some may think the abortion providers won, they haven’t, ”said Texas House Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park. “Today’s opinion is in fact a total victory for the pro-life movement. It is a full rationale for the law enforcement mechanism and sets a roadmap for other states to do the same.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said the court ruling was a “victory for Texas and the pro-life movement.”
“Today the Supreme Court has largely left in place a Texas law that protects life and sends the message that every life is valuable,” Cruz said in a statement.
Texas Democrats, however, were quick to condemn both the court’s decision and the Texas lawmakers behind SB 8.
The point is that Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and the Texas Republicans are denying millions of Texas women their constitutionally guaranteed right to health care, while allowing strangers to bring frivolous and damaging lawsuits against them. abortion providers, ”said Texas Representative Michelle Beckley, D. -Carrollton.
Opponents of SB 8 ring the bell
Abortion rights advocates criticized the judges’ decision to ultimately leave SB 8 in effect and warned that the decision sets a dangerous precedent not only for future abortion rights violations, but also for violations. other constitutional rights, such as firearms and voting rights.
“The implications of today’s decision will be profound,” said Marc Hearron, the attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights who argued on behalf of clinics and providers in Texas in Jackson’s oral arguments. “Today’s ruling means that any state can prohibit the exercise of any constitutional right within its borders if it allows the ban to be enforced through private prosecution.”
“By allowing SB 8 to remain in force, the Supreme Court continues to fail millions of Texans,” said Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women. “These decisions open the floodgates for mimic laws attacking our constitutional rights, including access to abortion, freedom of speech, religious freedom and the right to marry whomever we want.”
The American Medical Association weighed in on the decision, calling SB 8 “blatant legislative violence that endangers lives and interferes with the practice of medicine.”
“Every day that Texas law remains in effect, it negatively impacts reproductive health and shared medical decision-making, the cornerstone of the patient-physician relationship,” said Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, president of WADA.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance – the Texas abortion provider who was the lead plaintiff in the SB 8 case the court ruled on, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Jackson – said “Texans deserve better than this.”
“No one should be forced to leave their home country and travel hundreds of miles because anti-abortion politicians made it impossible for them to get care in their own community,” said Hagstrom Miller .
Since the law came into effect, abortions in Texas have been reduced by 50%, causing many people to travel out of state to obtain legal abortions. But the vast majority of people seeking an abortion cannot actually travel out of state, Hagstrom Miller said.
“They are invisible right now,” she said. “The majority of our patients cannot even entertain this idea. “
“The Supreme Court’s failure to end Texas’ six-week abortion ban jeopardizes the health and well-being of Texans, including those forced to cross the borders of the State to receive essential care, ”said Royce Brooks, executive director of the Progressive Texas Defense Organization. Annie’s List.
Julia Kaye, a lawyer with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said that after today’s ruling, it is time for Congress to pass federal law guaranteeing abortion rights across the country.
“We urgently need the Senate to pass and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act,” Kaye said, referring to a bill in Congress that would cement Deer vs. Wade protections in federal law. The House passed the law in September, and Biden said on Friday he would continue to work with Congress to pass the bill.
“We also need the Food and Drug Administration to remove its outdated and unnecessary restrictions on medical abortion in order to expand access to safe and effective abortion care where possible,” Kaye said.
The Food and Drug Administration has undertaken a serious review of the accessibility of medical abortion and a decision is expected on December 16. In a status report, the FDA said it would complete its review of whether or not to waive the waiver in person. requirements.
“Today the majority won a narrow victory for Whole Women’s Health but, as Justice Sotomayor pointed out, reproductive autonomy and religious freedom cannot be protected state by state,” said Katy Joseph, director of policy and advocacy for the Interfaith Alliance, a national interfaith organization.
Supporters of the new law applaud the decision
Meanwhile, supporters of SB 8 celebrated the High Court’s decision to keep the law in place as heard in lower courts.
“The Texas Right to Life celebrates that the Texas Heartbeat Act will continue to save between 75 and 100 unborn children from abortion per day. The success of our efforts is embodied in each individual life that is saved, ”said Kimberlyn Schwartz, director of media and communications for Texas Right to Life.
In a statement from the Texas Alliance for Life, the organization notes that “neither the United States Supreme Court nor the state’s district court has considered the constitutionality of a ban on abortion prior to viability, only procedural questions linked to the citizen application of SB 8 ”.
“Whether or not the courts allow this law to continue, we hope the Supreme Court will overturn the terrible Roe v Wade precedent so that states can fully protect unborn babies from the abortion tragedy. This could happen by next June, when the Court decides on the Dobbs case, whose oral arguments they heard last week, ”said executive director Joe Pojman.
“We are grateful that this law continues to save lives as legal challenges against it end up in lower courts,” said Kristen Day, executive director of the national anti-abortion organization Democrats for Life of America.
On December 1, judges heard arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson, a Mississippi case that seeks to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Dallas County case in which the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law criminalizing abortion and recognized a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy until the fetus is viable outside the womb . A decision in this case is still pending.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national “pro-life” group Susan B. Anthony List, reacted to Friday’s decision with hopes that Dobbs will overthrow Deer vs. Wade.
“We are celebrating that the Texas Heartbeat Act will remain in effect, saving the lives of unborn children and protecting mothers as litigation continues in lower courts. Meanwhile, we look forward to the court ruling in the Dobbs case in which the court directly examines the constitutionality of laws that protect unborn children and mothers before viability. Dobbs presents the greatest opportunity in generations to modernize our laws, ”she said.
“[Dobbs] is the perfect opportunity for the Court to rectify its overriding error and reverse Roe v. Wade, putting once and for all on hold the illogical, unjust and immoral notion that the Constitution guarantees the right to maliciously kill our youngest citizens, ”said Lila Rose, Founder and President of Live Action.
Austin correspondent Allie Morris contributed to this report.