By Dave Andrusko
While the Supreme Court could step in later, for now, as of midnight late night, Texas’ Heartbeat law is now in effect! Senate Bill 8 prohibits elective abortions after the preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable. Pro-abortionists assert the impact will be to curtail at least 85% of abortions performed in the Lone Star state.
In addition, on Monday, the Texas House passed Senate Bill 4, which is identical to legislation passed by the Senate. SB4 prevents physicians or providers from giving abortifacients to women who are more than seven weeks pregnant (currently, the upper limit is up to ten weeks), and from sending these drugs through the mail.
“Senate Bill 4 remains identical to the version of the bill passed by the Texas Senate,” the Texas Tribune reported. “Texas Democrats were unable to attach amendments to the bill, despite more than a dozen attempts, which means the bill will head straight to Gov. Greg Abbott‘s desk if it is finally approved with no changes.”
As you can imagine, the gnashing of teeth can be heard throughout pro-death land. Next step, the rending of shirts.
As NRL News Today has reported, a coalition of pro-abortion legal organizations, Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers unleashed a barrage of lawsuits attempting to prevent SB 8 from taking effect.
Last week they won a temporary victory when a federal trial judge rejected a motion by the state of Texas to dismiss the case.
But, as Reese Oxner reported, “The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Sunday denied a request to block the bill and canceled a hearing scheduled for Monday where at least 20 abortion providers hoped to testify against the measures, which would be some of the strictest in the country.”
Yesterday “Justice Samuel Alito, who oversees matters coming out of federal courts for the 5th Circuit, which includes Texas, gave the state until 5 p.m. Tuesday to lay out its argument for rejecting the request,” ABC News reported.
“Court watchers and people on both sides of the abortion debate kept vigil into the early hours of Wednesday morning, waiting for an order that never came from the justices,” Amy Howe reported. “Many experts expected the court to act before midnight central time, when the law was scheduled to take effect. Instead, the court – at least for now – declined to block the law. …
In its brief Texas’s Attorney General’s office made two critical points early in its 95 page response explaining why the High Court should not issue a preliminary injunction against SB 8.
First, as the Texas Tribune’s Neelam Bohra explained, “[T]he state wouldn’t enforce the law. SB 8 instead provides enforcement only by private citizens who would sue abortion providers and anyone involved in aiding or abetting an abortion after a ‘heartbeat’ is detected.”
The most obvious [reason not to issue a preliminary injunction] is that Applicants seek an injunction from this Court that would utterly fail to prevent any of the harm they claim will occur once Texas Senate Bill 8 becomes effective. This Court cannot expunge the law itself. Rather, it can enjoin only enforcement of the law. But the Governmental Defendants explicitly do not enforce the law, and the private-individual respondent testified that he will not do so.
Second, the plaintiffs lollygagged around in responding to what they knew, or ought easily to have known, was coming:
Applicants’ inability to obtain a preliminary injunction is the result of their own litigation decisions, not some injustice foisted upon them by the Fifth Circuit, which merely acknowledged a longstanding rule that the district court is divested of jurisdiction after appeal of an order denying sovereign immunity. Texas’s Senate Bill 8 was signed into law on May 19. It takes effect on September 1. Applicants waited until July 13 to file this lawsuit and until August 7 to seek a preliminary injunction. Applicants were (or should have been) well-aware the government officials they sued would invoke sovereign immunity.
NRL News Today will keep you updated as events unfold.