Texas Abortion Law Remains In Place Till Supreme Court Decides

The US Supreme Court will allow Texas to maintain a near-total ban on abortions, but will take up the case next month in a rare sped-up process.

The law, known as SB8, gives any person the right to sue doctors who perform an abortion past six-weeks – before most women know they are pregnant.

The Supreme Court said it will focus on how the law was crafted and whether it can be legally challenged.

It is considered extraordinarily rare for the top US court to expedite cases.

Lower courts have yet to issue final rulings on the so-called Texas Heartbeat Act.

The controversial law – which makes an exception for a documented medical emergency but not for cases of rape or incest – bans abortion after what some refer to as a foetal heartbeat.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that at six weeks a foetus has not yet developed a heartbeat, but rather an “electrically induced flickering” of tissue that will become the heart.

The Texas law is enforced by giving any individual – from Texas or elsewhere – the right to sue doctors who perform an abortion past the six-week point. However, it does not allow the women who get the procedure to be sued.

The Biden administration has previously said it would ask the court to block the law. Since 1973’s landmark Roe v Wade Supreme Court case, US women have had a right to abortions until a foetus is able to survive outside the womb – usually between 22 and 24 weeks into pregnancy.

The US is one of seven out of 198 countries to allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Washington Post.