The court voted 5-4 early Thursday to refuse an emergency appeal filed by abortion providers and others seeking to halt the implementation of the law, which went into effect on Wednesday.
The Texas law, signed in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, prohibits abortions after medical professionals discover heart activity, which is normally about six weeks and before most women realize they’re pregnant.
“The Supreme Court’s overnight decision is an unprecedented assault on a woman’s fundamental rights under Roe v. Wade, which has been the rule of the land for almost fifty years,” President Biden said in a statement.
It is the most stringent abortion-rights bill enacted in the United States since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, and it is part of a larger campaign by Republicans across the country to put greater limitations on abortion.
“By allowing a law to take effect that allows private citizens in Texas to sue health care providers, family members who support a woman exercising her right to choose after six weeks, or even a friend who drives her to a hospital or clinic, it unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-appointed enforcers to have devastating consequences,” he added.
“Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women. This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest,” Biden continued. “And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman—it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”
At least 12 other states have enacted bans early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.
“In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit,” the court said in the unsigned order. “In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts.”