The Supreme Court struck down yet another attempt from pro-choice activists to block the enforcement of a six-week abortion ban in Texas on Thursday.
The 6-3 ruling split along political lines, with the three liberal justices writing dissents against the decision. The Texas law bans abortions from being carried out beyond six weeks of pregnancy. SCOTUS first allowed the law to take effect in September, though it also allowed abortion advocates to pursue various means of challenging the law further. (RELATED: Supreme Court Takes Up Major Abortion Case Directly Challenging Roe V. Wade)
The Thursday ruling centered on whether the case should be allowed to go back to a Texas district court judge who has expressed hostility toward the ban. The six-justice majority did not write an opinion, but Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined in a pair of dissenting opinions.
“This case is a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to women in Texas, who have a right to control their own bodies,” Sotomayor wrote. “I will not stand by silently as a State continues to nullify this constitutional guarantee.”
A group of Texas abortion clinics led by Whole Woman’s Health first challenged the Texas law before the Supreme Court in August. The law is novel among pro-life legislation in that it does not penalize mothers who seek out abortions, but rather those who carry out or otherwise facilitate abortions. The law allows “any person” to sue individuals who assist an abortion and may receive $10,000 for each abortion the defendant is found guilty of facilitating.
“Texans, like everyone else in this country, should be able to count on safe abortion care in their own state,” Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said in a statement at the time. “No one should be forced to drive hundreds of miles or be made to continue a pregnancy against their will, yet that’s what will happen unless the Supreme Court steps in.” (Anders Hagstrom is the nephew of CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller.)