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Supreme Court Again Allows Texas Heartbeat Law to Stay in Effect but Will Quickly Hear Arguments from DOJ

Interior of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by Jackie Hope on Unsplash)

The U.S. Supreme Court is once again allowing the Texas heartbeat law to stay in place while lawsuits against it proceed, but the court is expediting the latest challenge, announcing it will begin hearing arguments on Nov. 1. 

The Texas law protects unborn persons once their heartbeats are detected around six weeks of pregnancy before many women know they are pregnant. And it puts the onus of enforcement on private citizens who are rewarded for bringing lawsuits against anyone who performs an abortion.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing to overturn the Texas law, so the Supreme Court justices said Friday they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law. 

The law has reportedly led to an 80% reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state.  

"Abortion is our leading cause of death, killing more people than heart disease, cancer, or COVID-19," said Lila Rose, founder, and president of the pro-life group Live Action. "With unprecedented attacks on human life coming from the highest levels of our federal government, it is more critical than ever that we stand for justice and unite for the lives of children." 

"Every day, in the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, 2,363 children are killed by the violence of abortion. Science clearly reveals that human life begins at the moment of fertilization, when a unique, individual human life with his or her own genetic code comes into existence. By 21 days from fertilization, his or her heart will begin to beat, by 6 weeks brain waves are already forming, and by 9 weeks the child can move his or her arms and legs and even hiccup," Rose added. 

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"The facts about abortion are devastating, but must be known: these 2,363 precious lives are killed through chemical abortions – starved of nutrients, then forcibly aborted, or torn into pieces by suction and removed from their mothers, or torn limb from torso by forceps while still alive, before their skulls are crushed, or stabbed in the heart or head with a lethal injection. The mass killing of the innocent through abortion is the greatest crisis we face as human beings," she explained. 

The Texas law has been in effect since September, aside from a district court-ordered pause that lasted just 48 hours. 

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. 

On Thursday, the state urged the court to leave the law in place, saying the federal government lacked the authority to file its lawsuit challenging the Texas law.

As CBN News reported, the Justice Department filed suit over the law after the Supreme Court rejected an earlier effort by abortion providers to temporarily block the ban.

In early October, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled for the administration, putting the law on hold and allowing abortions to resume. 

Two days later, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put the law back into effect.

Meanwhile, the court already is scheduled to hear arguments on Dec. 1 in an unrelated case in which Mississippi is calling for the court to overrule the Roe and Casey decisions.

Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here.

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