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Pro- and anti-abortion demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Photo: Getty Images
Pro- and anti-abortion demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Photo: Getty Images

Supreme Court discusses Texas' controversial anti-abortion law again

After almost three hours of hearings, all indications are that the law will be repealed in the next few days. 

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Two months ago the controversial SB-8 law was approved in Texas, prohibiting abortion in the state after six weeks of gestation, and alarms were raised not only because of the effect the decision would have on women's health, but also because of the constitutional precedent that was being created. 

Experts pointed out that the law could be the model for other laws restricting rights not only on abortion or access to health care rights under the Roe v. Wade ruling, but also in cases such as carrying of firearms. 

After many failed attempts to block the law and lawsuits against SB-8, on Monday, Nov. 1, the Supreme Court reconvened to hear arguments for and against it for the first time. In the aftermath, everything seems to indicate that the Court will suspend the law, but not because of the abortion issue itself, but because its structure cannot be sued based on its constitutionality.

PODCAST: Abortion debate and a new round in the U.S.

The lawsuits reviewed by the justices argue that the Texas law conflicts with landmark Supreme Court rulings that prevent a state from banning abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.

Moreover, because of the way it is written, challenging the law in any court is virtually impossible, as evidenced by several attempts by detractors in recent months. 

The controversy

The detail that makes the law particular is that it leaves its enforcement in the hands of private citizens, who can sue doctors or anyone else who helps a woman have an abortion, and can also receive a $10,000 reward. Usually, the state would enforce the law and suing state officials would be the proper legal avenue," explained the AP, but if the law is 'enforced' by citizens, it makes challenging it more complicated.

In a discussion that took nearly three hours, the justices heard arguments for and against the law, and two of them, conservatives Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, would apparently change their vote with the procedural issue in mind. 

"The question the justices are considering is whether the Justice Department and abortion providers can challenge the law in federal court. Even if the justices decide that one or both can sue, they still must vote on whether to allow the law to remain in effect while legal challenges continue," explained the AP.

As it is, the Supreme Court will most likely rule against SB-8. While it will most likely not block it, it will decide whether the Justice Department and abortion providers can challenge it in federal court and whether the law will remain in effect. 

All of this would occur before Dec. 1, when the Court will have to discuss another controversial Mississippi anti-abortion law, which seeks to reduce the time for termination of pregnancy from 24 to 16 weeks. 

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