A deeply divided federal appeals court has left in place the strictest abortion ban in the country by rejecting the Texas abortion clinics’ plea to send their challenge against the state’s controversial law back to the lower court that previously blocked the ban.
Instead, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is temporarily directing the case to the Republican-controlled Texas Supreme Court for further interpretation, postponing the decision for months.
The Texas abortion ban, which restricts access to abortion after six weeks into pregnancy, has already led to a large reduction in abortions in the state.
Judge Stephen Higginson, who disagreed with his colleagues Judge Edith Jones and Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan’s second-guessing redundancy, noted his concerns that justice delayed is justice denied.
Their decision was branded the latest tactic to delay the law from being discussed by the abortion providers after the Supreme Court’s procedural ruling in December effectively prolonged abortion providers’ efforts to block the law.
Following the early January arguments at the appeals court, the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Attorney Marc Hearron had nothing but a bleak assessment of the path forward for abortion rights advocates.
He noted that the core of the case is the fact that the Supreme Court gave the green light to a vigilante scheme that infringes on a constitutional right, delegating the enforcement to the general public, which federal courts can’t do anything to stop.
Meanwhile, it seems that state lines are already crossed regarding the controversial issue since the Supreme Court conservative judges’ discussion over the Mississippi abortion ban that bars the procedure after 15 weeks has led them to express their support for overturning Roe v. Wade.