Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agrees to hear jurisdictional questions in Texas Heartbeat Law January 7

By Dave Andrusko

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed to hear oral arguments on the issue of whether it should ask the Texas Supreme Court to answer questions about the Heartbeat law that protects unborn children whose hearts have begun to beat, usually at about 6 weeks of pregnancy. 

“The court has decided that oral argument is appropriate before ruling on the state’s motion to certify or alternate motion to set a briefing schedule, and the response thereto,” the Fifth Circuit wrote. That briefing will take place January 7.

The state “seeks a definitive ruling from the Texas Supreme Court over the role the licensing officials play in enforcing the abortion ban,” the AP’s Mark Sherman reported.

More specifically, “Texas administrative officials asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to certify to the state’s top court the issue of whether Texas administrative officials are proper defendants in a suit challenging the law’s constitutionality,” Mary Anne Pazanowski of Bloomberg News.

As reported by NRL News Today earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the law to remain in effect. “But it also said the providers couldn’t sue state judges, county clerks, the state’s attorney general, and an anti-abortion advocate,” Pazanowski reported, “This left the administrative officials as the only defendants.”

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the motion to certify the question to the state’s Supreme Court  is merely “a transparent attempt to forestall relief” and “indefinitely prevent plaintiffs from obtaining any effective relief from the district court in the face of a law that is clearly contrary to Supreme Court precedent.”