September 1, 2021

Pro-Abortion Groups Call on Supreme Court to Take up Texas Heartbeat Act

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
On Tuesday morning, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said that he would consider whether to bring a Texas heartbeat law before the full Supreme Court.

Texas SB 8 bans all abortions, except to save the life of the mother, after the child's heartbeat is detectable. That can happen as early as six weeks. Additionally, the law is enforced by civil lawsuits, but by a government body. Private citizens will have the power to file lawsuits against people implicit in breaking the law. This can include the doctors who commit abortions or third parties who pay for them.

After the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals canceled a hearing that was set for Monday and denied pro-abortion requests to expedite the appeal process, pro-abortion advocates asked the Supreme Court to intervene. If no action is taken, the law could see enforcement as soon as today.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest pro-life legislation to pass the Texas Legislature since Roe v. Wade,” Texas Right to Life communication director Kim Schwartz told the Texas Tribune in an interview. “This is a huge victory and could save thousands upon thousands of preborn babies. We look forward to the day that it’s going to be enforced — hopefully very soon.”

Due to the uniqueness of Texas's SB 8, it is unclear whether a challenge to the law would threaten Roe v. Wade. For a case like that, pro-life advocates may have to wait until the fall. The Supreme Court will then hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That case involves a Mississippi law that was drafted specifically to challenge Roe v. Wade.