Texas Supreme Court upholds pro-life law making abortions illegal after heartbeat

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Texas Supreme Court

By putting enforcement of its new fetal-heartbeat anti-abortion law into the hands of pretty much anyone, who can file a civil lawsuit against anyone who helps provide an illegal abortion, Texas appears to be shutting down the baby-killing industry.

The Texas Supreme Court on March 11 ruled that state medical licensing officials do not have the authority to enforce Senate Bill 8, based on the way the new law is written, reports WFAA TV. This removes any grounds for Texas abortion providers to continue their challenge to Senate Bill 8 in federal court.

In December the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a federal lawsuit claiming the anti-abortion law is unconstitutional could go on, but it also said that the law would remain in effect during the challenge and that the state itself and elected officials like Attorney General Ken Paxton could not be targeted. Only officials in charge of state medical licensing could be targeted by abortion providers, and the recent decision takes that off the table.

One could say that legal opposition to abortion has actually been crowdsourced to Texans: Private citizens may now file civil lawsuits against any party they believe to be helping someone undergo an illegal abortion and be awarded up to $10,000. The legislation, which makes abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected (typically about six weeks), went into effect on Sept 1.

The March 11 decision means that the federal challenge to Senate Bill 8 will likely be tossed, and opens the way for more states to pass similar legislation. This week, Oklahoma’s senate passed an anti-abortion bill that mirrors Senate Bill 8 and utilizes the same private citizen method of enforcement.

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