On Monday November 1, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments on challenges to the Texas pro-life laws known as the “heartbeat” law which bans abortion after six-weeks when most fetal life is detected.
A broad group of Texas abortion providers sued the state over the law and lost in the lower court. The appeal has been brought to the Supreme Court who is hearing the arguments today.
Though we won’t have a decision today, the questions asked by the justices give some insight to how the ruling may go.
For example, Justice Kavanaugh expressed skepticism and asked a lot of questions of state officials regarding precedent of what their law could mean for other constitutionally mandated rights including the right to bear arms.
“There’s a loophole that’s been exploited here or used here,” Kavanaugh said. “It could be free speech rights. It could be free-exercise-of-religion rights. It could be Second Amendment rights.”
Further, Justice Amy Barrett worried that the law was written in a way which does not allow for defendants to properly defend themselves according to their constitutional right. She said:
“I’m wondering if, in the defensive posture in state court, the constitutional defense can be fully aired…”
Perhaps the staunchest protector of life and most consistent justice sitting on the court today, Justice Clarence Thomas, offered some unexpected skepticism asking what precedent Texas lawmakers had used when crafting their civil penalty structure.
Meanwhile Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch seemed fairly stalwartly in favor of the Texas law. The leftists on the court were unsurprisingly pretty openly opposed to the law.
The decision will come later on but in the meantime the Texas law stands.