The Supreme Court allowed a Texas law that bars most abortions after six weeks to remain in place for now, but it agreed to hear oral arguments on the law next month.
The law, banning abortions often before a woman knows she is pregnant is in stark contrast to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
In agreeing to hear the case under such an expedited time frame, the court said Friday that it would focus specifically on the unusual way in which the Texas legislature crafted the law. Texas officials are barred from enforcing it. Instead, private citizens — from anywhere in the country — can bring a civil suit against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the law.
In the brief order, the court said it would look at whether a law can be written in such a way to insulate a state from the responsibility of enforcing it. It also says it will review whether the US Justice Department can challenge the law in court.
Critics of the law say that it was written specifically to make it difficult to challenge — and if the court did not step in to block such an enforcement mechanism, other challenges could be brought in areas like the gun control.
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