Yesterday brought an encouraging victory in the ongoing legal battle over the Texas Heartbeat Act (SB 8). The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to expeditiously consider two lawsuits challenging SB 8 brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Oral arguments are set for November 1. (Read the SCOTUS Opinion Here.)
Importantly, a majority of the Justices rejected the DOJ’s emergency request to block enforcement of the Heartbeat Act in the interim. This marks the second time that the high court has allowed the Texas law to stand, the first being last month’s 5-4 decision on September 1 permitting the Heartbeat Act to go into effect.
This opinion quickly follows Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Thursday filing with the Supreme Court on behalf of the State of Texas arguing that the federal government lacks standing in their lawsuit and urging the court to allow SB 8 to stay in effect. (Read the State of Texas filing Here.)
Praise God that, for now, unborn babies in Texas with a detectable heartbeat which typically occurs at six weeks of a pregnancy will continue to be protected. An estimated one hundred babies in Texas will be saved every day.
Thus far, SB 8 has withstood vigorous efforts by the U.S. Government and Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and advocates to have it stricken due to the novel enforcement mechanism that allows private citizens to enforce it rather than Texas government officials.
The Supreme Court appears to be limiting its review to the procedural merits of both cases rather than the constitutionality of abortion. Specifically, the court will address the question of whether the United States Government may bring a lawsuit against the State of Texas in federal court and obtain a ruling “against the State, state court judges, state court clerks, other state officials, or all private parties to prohibit SB 8 from being enforced.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned the opinion, concurring in part and dissenting in part, stating: “For the second time, the Court is presented with an application to enjoin a statute enacted in open disregard of the constitutional rights of women seeking abortion care in Texas. For the second time, the Court declines to act immediately to protect these women from grave and irreparable harm.” She went on to say: “The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now. These women will suffer personal harm from delaying their medical care, and as their pregnancies progress, they may even be unable to obtain abortion care altogether.”
This latest decision further signals a heightened urgency and interest by the Supreme Court to address abortion law. In December, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization addressing the constitutionality of Mississppi’s Gestational Age Act that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks. The Texas and Mississippi laws being considered by the high court will put center stage the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that created a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability as well as the later case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey which upheld the constitutional right to an abortion and created the “undue burden” standard for abortion restrictions. Since the nearly 50 year old Roe decision came down, more than 62 million babies have been aborted in the United States.
Please join us in continuing to pray for:
- Many unborn babies’ lives to be saved by the continued enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act
- Abortion-minded and determined women in Texas to seek care from life-affirming pregnancy resource centers in our state rather than traveling to other states like Oklahoma and Kansas to terminate their pregnancies.
- Abortion clinics in Texas to be forced to close.
- Hearts and minds of abortion providers and proponents determined to strike down the Texas Heartbeat Act and other abortion restrictive laws to be transformed to value and love every unborn child and that they would come to understand the deep emotional and spiritual pain abortion causes women, men and families to suffer.
- The U.S. Supreme Court Justices to make decisions that honor the Sanctity of Life and ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade.
- God’s protection over our country, state and government and judicial leaders who courageously stand for the unborn.