In a ruling Friday, the Texas Supreme Court delivered another legal blow to abortion providers' federal lawsuit challenging the state's abortion restrictions.
The court ruled state agencies are not authorized to enforce the law, and thus, recommended the abortion industry's lawsuit be dismissed.
“There is nothing left, this case is effectively over with respect to our challenge to the abortion ban,” said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which led the challenge against the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8.
Although Texas abortion clinics are not dropping the lawsuit, they now expect it will be dismissed in the coming weeks or months.
The Texas law bans abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Abortions in Texas have plummeted by more than 50% since the law took effect.
You can read the full opinion here.
In a statement, the pro-life group Texas Right to Life called the ruling, "a big victory."
"Today's ruling is a big victory for the life-saving Texas Heartbeat Act," the group said. "We have said from the beginning that abortionists' lawsuit should be dismissed. The Legislature clearly never intended state agencies to participate in enforcing the Texas Heartbeat Act, and the Supreme Court of Texas agreed. This is not the final step in the journey, as the case will now return to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but it affirms a positive path forward for the historic law. We're grateful that the Texas Heartbeat Act will continue saving thousands of lives, and we're hopeful that the judiciary will soon pave the way to protect all preborn children by overturning Roe v. Wade."
Lia Rose, president of Live Action, said the ruling is "a big win for children in Texas."
"This is a big win for children in Texas," she said in a statement. "The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled against the abortion industry in their litigation against the Texas Heart Beat Law. The law will continue to protect children with a detectable heartbeat from the violence of abortion."
Chelsey Youman, Texas state director and national legislative advisor with Human Coalition Action, applauded the court's ruling, and remarked, "Texas is a pioneer for what a post-Roe pro-life culture should look like."
"We applaud the Texas Supreme Court for allowing this law to remain in effect," Youman said in a statement. "For more than six months now, this law has protected the most vulnerable among us - reducing abortions in Texas by 60% in its first month alone. The court recognized what we already knew: this law is constitutional. It is the most successful piece of pro-life legislation in 50 years and should be replicated everywhere in states that are serious about rescuing preborn lives."
"Texas is a pioneer for what a post-Roe pro-life culture should look like," the statement continued. "The state appropriated $100 million to support alternatives to abortion for expectant mothers, showing that Texas truly cares about both mother and child. We will not rest as we continue to work for a society where all preborn lives are protected and all women are cared for and empowered to choose life."
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