The U.S. state of Texas on Thursday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to leave in place its restrictive law banning most abortions after the administration of President Joe Biden had asked the country’s highest court to block the statute.
In its court filing, Texas, the second most populous U.S. state, defended an order by a three-judge 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that allowed the anti-abortion law to go back into effect after a lower-court judge put it on hold.
The state contended, "In sum, far from being demonstrably wrong, the Fifth Circuit's conclusion that Texas is likely to prevail was entirely right.” It told the high court there was no reason to rush into a decision pending further review at the appellate level.
The Biden administration has argued that the law is "clearly unconstitutional" because it bans abortions at roughly six weeks of a pregnancy, long before a fetus can survive outside the womb. In its major abortion rulings, the Supreme Court has made it clear that states can regulate but not prohibit abortions before the point of fetal viability, about 22 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
Since the law went into effect, clinics in Texas say abortions in the state are down by about 80%, with women going to clinics in other states to obtain abortions.
The Texas abortion law is unique in that it also gives private citizens the right to sue anyone who performs or assists a woman in getting an abortion. Individual citizens can be awarded $10,000 for bringing successful lawsuits.
Aside from the Texas case, in December, the Supreme Court is considering whether to uphold or overturn a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.