Explaining the wider context of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas’ Heartbeat Law to remain in force

By Dave Andrusko

Take my word for it, the dust from the Supreme Court’s decision this week to deny the request of pro-abortion litigants for injunctive relief to block enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act will not settle for months and months to come. That, of course, does not stop anyone—especially pro-abortionists—from predicting electoral calamity for passing Senate Bill 8 which prohibits elective abortions after the preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable. 

There were 57,275 abortions performed in Texas in 2019, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.  Pro-abortionists assert the impact will be to curtail at least 85% of abortions performed in the Lone Star State. 

Let’s discuss five followup items, extrapolating from not only what the media is saying but also in light of the congratulatory statement from National Right to Life and stories we’ve written for NRL News Today.

#1. In responding to the request to stop enforcement of SB 8, the Supreme Court did not rule on the law’s constitutionality. [W]e cannot say the applicants have met their burden to prevail in an injunction or stay application,” five justices wrote. “In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit.” They added, referring to the pro-abortion challengers, “Their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden. presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden.”

#2. As you would expect, pro-abortion President Biden—whose approval ratings are racing downward from the 50’s to the higher 40’s to  the mid-40’s—vowed to go nuclear. As CNN reported

Biden said he was launching a “whole of government” effort to respond to the law, tasking the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department “to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions.” He said the effort would be led from within the White House.

Ditto for pro-abortion Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who vowed “Upon our return, the House will bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America”—aka “codify Roe.”

#3. In a classic reprise of “Behind every dark storm is a bright rainbow,” the Atlantic’s Elaine Godfrey headlined her story ”Is This How Democrats Break Their Midterm Curse?” There is every reason to believe Democrats, the party of abortion, will have a very difficult time holding the U.S. House in the mid-term elections, and they could also lose control of the U.S. Senate. Godfrey’s piece is premised on the hope that the law “may help them [Democrats] gin up voter enthusiasm.”

This is a variation of the zero-sum game. Pro-abortion Democrats will get fired up while (the inference is) pro-life Republicans won’t be motivated to win across the board next year—including in state legislative races. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

#4. As National Right to Life pointed out on Wednesday, passage of SB 8 should be seen in a broader context.

As of late June more than 60 laws protecting unborn children have been passed in state legislatures.

The implementation of SB8 comes on the heels of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding a Texas state law based on National Right to Life model legislation that prohibits an abortionist from dismembering a living unborn child limb-by-limb from her mother’s womb. It also comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on a Mississippi law that protects unborn children after 15-weeks gestation.

In other words, SB 8 is important, but there is other very significant legislation the justices will be hearing this fall, for example, Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act. In hearing oral arguments this fall on House Bill 1510, the justices said they will address one specific question: “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional”– a hugely important issue.

And #5. Doubling back to President Biden, I was struck by a piece in The Hill today that ran under the headline “Changing Joe Biden’s mind is no easy task.”

Here are two representative and very telling paragraphs:

It takes a lot to convince President Biden he’s wrong. After more than 40 years of public service — in the Senate chamber, the vice presidency and now as president — he is firmly rooted in his beliefs, giving him a stubborn streak and even a temper on occasion, those around him say. …

The heel-digging approach from the top is becoming a hallmark of the Biden era. The president and his closest advisers often stick with an announced strategy, changing it only at the last possible moment if it becomes untenable. That has mostly been the case even amid times of intense press scrutiny and pressure from his own party.

Does that apply to abortion? Of course not. In 2019 when he flip-flopped from decades of support for the Hyde Amendment to opposition, he positioned his reversal as almost a profile in courage. As President, Biden’s White House front door always swings wide open when the  Abortion Lobby comes a’knockin.

What they want from President Biden is what they get.

We will keep you up to date on all the latest on pro-life legislation and how the Supreme Court addresses our concerns.