Abortion providers and pro-choice advocates asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block a Texas law going into effect on Wednesday that bans abortion after six weeks and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers for violating the law.
The pro-choice activists said Texas’s new legislation, which is set to go into effect Sept. 1, makes it so any private citizen — including pro-life activists — can sue individuals providing an abortion in violation of the six-week ban.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and allied groups launched the lawsuit earlier this year to block the law, saying it would force abortion providers to spend massive amounts of money defending themselves in court and will subject them to harassment.
They argue it runs afoul of Supreme Court precedent, Roe v Wade, protecting a woman’s right to an abortion.
“Nearly fifty years ago, this Court held that Texas could not ban abortion prior to viability,” the high court filing read. “Yet, absent intervention from this Court, in less than two days, on Wednesday, September 1, Texas will do precisely that. This new Texas law will ban abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy, which is indisputably prior to viability and before many people even know they are pregnant.”
According to the pro-choice advocates, if the law goes into effect, most women seeking abortions in Texas, 85% of which occur after six weeks, would be barred from receiving the health care service, and many abortion clinics would close.
They’re suing a number of defendants including state judges, clerks, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law in May.
Mr. Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit pending before the high court.
Since the Supreme Court decided in 1973 that women had a national right to abortion in the case of Roe v Wade, pro-life advocates and conservative states have aimed to chip away at that ruling.
At least eight states have tried to ban abortion after six weeks, but none of those laws have gone into effect, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide if Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks runs afoul of its 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade during its next term.