Texas’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled against abortion supporters on Friday, dealing a final blow to a challenge to the state’s abortion ban.
“Texas law does not grant the state-agency executives named as defendants in this case any authority to enforce the Act’s requirements, either directly or indirectly,” the court ruling said.
“Senate Bill 8 provides that its requirements may be enforced by a private civil action, that no state official may bring or participate as a party in any such action, that such an action is the exclusive means to enforce the requirements, and that these restrictions apply notwithstanding any other law.”
“Based on these provisions,” the court continued, “we conclude that Texas law does not grant the state-agency executives named as defendants in this case any authority to enforce the Act’s requirements, either directly or indirectly.”
Texas’s SB 8, which bans abortions after six weeks, has roused the wrath of left-leaning lawmakers and activists by allowing private citizens to sue anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.”
The U.S. Supreme Court had dismissed one challenge the Texas law in December, allowing the law to remain in effect for the time being while also allowing abortion providers’ challenge to the law to proceed.
When the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the challenge to the law in January, Texas argued that the lawsuit could not touch them because Texas law does not give the state the power to enforce the law, Axios reported.
The appeals court then transferred the challenge to the Texas Supreme Court, asking whether the state officials who are named in the case as defendants could act against anyone who broke the new Texas law.
“This law is about human life, a little baby growing inside her mother’s womb,” the bill’s author, Texas State Sen. Bryan Hughes, told The Daily Signal in a November interview outside the Supreme Court. “When there is a heartbeat the doctor can detect, the doctor cannot take that life in an abortion. That’s all the bill is about.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the progressive organizations representing abortion providers in this case, called the news a “devastating blow for abortion rights in Texas and across the country,” predicting that “S.B. 8 will remain in place in Texas for the foreseeable future.”
BREAKING: The Texas Supreme Court ruled that our lawsuit against Texas’ ban on abortion at 6 weeks of pregnancy, SB8, cannot proceed.
SB8 will remain in place in Texas for the foreseeable future.
This is a devastating blow for abortion rights in Texas and across the country.
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 11, 2022
“With this ruling, the sliver of this case that we were left with is gone,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The courts have allowed Texas to nullify a constitutional right. We will continue to do everything in our power to right this wrong.”
But pro-life groups and activists widely celebrated the news.
“We applaud the Texas Supreme Court for allowing this law to remain in effect,” said Chelsey Youman, Texas State Director and National Legislative Advisor with Human Coalition Action. “For more than six months now, this law has protected the most vulnerable among us – reducing abortions in Texas by 60% in its first month alone.”
“The court recognized what we already knew: this law is constitutional,” Youman added. “It is the most successful piece of pro-life legislation in 50 years, and should be replicated everywhere in states that are serious about rescuing preborn lives.”
BREAKING: The Supreme Court of Texas ruled in the federal challenge to the Texas Heartbeat Act. The court found that state agencies are not authorized to enforce the law & thus the abortion industry's lawsuit should be dismissed. Another huge victory for Texas. #prolife #txlege
— Texas Right to Life (Text ProLife to 40237) (@TXRightToLife) March 11, 2022
The Human Coalition Action Texas state director predicted that “Texas is a pioneer for what a post-Roe pro-life culture should look like.”
“The state appropriated $100 million to supporting alternatives to abortion for expectant mothers, showing that Texas truly cares about both mother and child,” she added. “We will not rest as we continue to work for a society where all preborn lives are protected and all women are cared for and empowered to choose life.”