U.S. Supreme Court arguments against the Texas abortion law are set to begin Monday as abortion providers and the Biden administration seek to overturn the measure.
The "Heartbeat" Act (SB 8), which took effect on Sept. 1, protects unborn persons once their heartbeats are detected at around six weeks of pregnancy, which is before many women know they are pregnant. It also puts the responsibility of enforcement on private citizens who are rewarded for bringing lawsuits against anyone who performs an abortion.
The law has reportedly led to an 80 percent reduction in abortions in the nation's second-largest state.
The focus of the high court arguments will not be on the merits of the abortion ban, but whether the Justice Department can sue and obtain a court order that effectively prevents the law from being enforced, the Supreme Court said in its brief order.
"For two generations, the US Supreme Court has tied the hands of states to enact laws protecting unborn children and their mothers," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List said of the Texas legislation. "It is time to restore this right to the people and update our laws."
But pro-choice advocates claim that the law is unconstitutional and will greatly affect women's access to health care.
"The outcome of this case will define the future of our constitutional democracy," said Sam Spital, director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is supporting the DOJ's lawsuit against Texas.
Statistics show there could be as many as 3,000 abortions in the US each day. And while this heartbeat bill is expected to trim that number in Texas, it's also reminding the country about life inside the womb.
"This is a great development for the pro-life movement because the law will continue to save an estimated 100 babies per day, and because the justices will actually discuss whether these lawsuits are even valid in the first place," said Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokesperson for Texas Right to Life.
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