Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other pro-abortion groups filed a desperate appeal Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to block a Texas law that could save tens of thousands of unborn babies from abortion.
On Sunday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block the Texas heartbeat law and canceled a hearing with a federal judge about its enforcement, Newsmax reports.
That means, unless the Supreme Court acts, the law will go into effect, as planned, on Wednesday – and potentially save more than 100 babies from abortion every single day.
The pro-life law, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed in May, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, typically about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Unique from other heartbeat laws, the Texas legislation includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law.
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In their petition to the Supreme Court, the pro-abortion groups said the pro-life law “would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas” and potentially cause many abortion facilities to close, according to the Washington Post.
“Patients who can scrape together resources will be forced to attempt to leave the state to obtain an abortion, and many will be delayed until later in pregnancy. The remaining Texans who need an abortion will be forced to remain pregnant against their will or to attempt to end their pregnancies without medical supervision,” the groups argued.
The decision about whether to temporarily block the law now is in the hands of Justice Samuel Alito, one of the conservative justices on the high court, The Hill reports.
John Seago, legislative director at Texas Right to Life, told the Post that he is hopeful that the law will go into effect and save lives.
“To have a significant piece of pro-life legislation that takes effect when it was scheduled — that almost never happens,” Seago said. “It’s a phenomenal victory for our movement.”
He told LifeNews.com: “It is not surprising that the abortion industry is using their last, desperate option to try block the Texas Heartbeat Act from taking effect on Wednesday. This lawsuit is invalid and we are hopeful that Justice Alito will examine the compelling arguments raised explaining why the case should be ultimately dismissed.”
The law has the potential to save tens of thousands of babies from abortion. In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics.
Earlier this summer, a group of more than 20 abortion practitioners, including Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health, filed a lawsuit asking a court to block the law from going into effect. That hearing was scheduled for Monday before a federal district judge, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the groups’ request and canceled the hearing.
About a dozen other states also have passed heartbeat laws, but courts have blocked the states from enforcing them, citing Roe v. Wade.
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. The court is scheduled to hear a Mississippi case in the fall that challenges this precedent.
Polls show Americans support heartbeat laws. An April poll by the University of Texas-Austin found that 49 percent of Texans support making abortions illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, while 41 percent oppose it.
In 2019, a national Hill-HarrisX survey also found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls consistently find that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.
Along with passing the heartbeat law this spring, Texas state lawmakers also increased support to help pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to help them choose life. Among other things, they voted to invest $100 million into the Texas Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides free counseling, parenting classes, diapers, formula, job skills training and more.