Pro-life leaders applaud Texas Supreme Court ruling upholding Heartbeat Act – Catholic World Report

null / liseykina/Shutterstock

Washington, DC Newsroom, March 11, 2022 / 3:40 p.m. (CNA).

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ended a final challenge to the state’s Heartbeat Act, leaving one of the nation’s strongest pro-life laws in place.

Pro-life leaders hailed the decision, in a case brought by state abortion providers, as a major victory.

“This is a big win for the children of Texas,” Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action, said in a statement. “The law will continue to protect children with a detectable heartbeat from the violence of abortion.”

Conversely, opponents of the law denounced the ruling as a further erosion of the legal framework in place since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion nationwide. In a tweet, the American Civil Liberty Union called the decision “a devastating blow to abortion rights in Texas and nationwide.”

The case centered on the unusual way pro-life lawmakers in Texas crafted the law to dramatically narrow the window for legal abortions in the state and resist a constitutional challenge.

Roe specifically prohibits states from restricting a woman’s access to an abortion before the stage at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, which the Supreme Court determined to be 24 to 28 weeks pregnant.

The Texas law, which went into effect last year, prohibits abortions at a much earlier stage of gestation: after detection of a fetal heartbeat, which typically occurs around six weeks pregnant.

Since Roe, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly barred state officials from enforcing such restrictions. What makes the Heartbeat Act revolutionary is that it gives state officials no enforcement powers.

Instead, the law leaves law enforcement exclusively to private citizens, who can bring a civil action against anyone attempting to procure, perform, or “encourage” an illegal abortion, and receive up to $10,000 per violation, plus legal fees.

Whole Women’s Health and other Texas abortion providers argued in their lawsuit that the law could be overturned because a number of state officials, including the attorney general, justices of the state and clerks apply it indirectly by handling and adjudicating these civil suits.

In an 8-to-1 decision on Dec. 10, the U.S. Supreme Court largely disagreed, but allowed the plaintiffs to pursue their lawsuit more narrowly against state medical licensing officials, who have the power under state law to discipline physicians and other authorized persons. medical professionals who violate state laws.

The plaintiffs argued that these officials can, in fact, enforce the law, but the Texas Supreme Court disagreed, saying it found nothing in the legislation itself granting officials licenses this authority “directly or indirectly”. You can read the full decision here.

Instead, the decision notes, the law specifically excludes state officials from those who can bring civil suits to enforce the law.

“We agree that these laws give state agencies and their leaders broad authority to enforce other state laws — including abortion restriction laws — through the disciplinary process. professional, at least unless other laws provide otherwise,” the decision states. “But we conclude that the Heartbeat Act expressly provides otherwise.”

Pro-life leaders believe the ruling will lead more pro-life state legislatures to follow Texas’ lead, a process that’s already underway in Florida, South Dakota, Ohio and a growing number of other states.

“The court recognized what we already knew: this law is constitutional,” Chelsey Youman, Texas state executive and national legislative counsel for Human Coalition Action, a pro-life group, said Friday.

“This is the most successful pro-life legislation in 50 years and should be replicated everywhere in states that are serious about saving unborn lives,” she added.

If you enjoy the news and views provided by Catholic World Report, please consider making a donation to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers around the world for free, without subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to the CWR. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Previous Architectural Designer - San Francisco, CA, USA | Works
Next Batman Production Designer Explains Batmobile Design