The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Wednesday to reject an emergency request to block Texas' newly passed law which bans abortions six weeks after pregnancy, once fetal heartbeats are detected.
In a 5-4 ruling, Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett voted to keep the law in effect. Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan voted in dissent.
In May, Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) signed into law legislation that bans abortions in the state once fetal heartbeats are detected. The law took effect Wednesday, September 1. The restriction, which was part of an aggressive agenda for Republican lawmakers during the current legislative session, placed Texas at the helm of the pro-life fight among conservative states challenging the boundaries of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 controversial Supreme Court case.
In response to the Texas Heartbeat Act going into effect on Wednesday, President Joe Biden issued a statement condemning its restrictions on abortions. "Today, Texas law SB8 went into effect. This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century," wrote Biden in a statement on Wednesday.
"The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes," the statement continued. "And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual."
"My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right," Biden concluded.
While Biden said that his administration will defend Roe v. Wade, he did not specify how that would be conducted in this case.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, or SB8, states that "a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnancy woman unless the physician has determined, in accordance with this section, whether the woman’s unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat."
Because of the Supreme Court's ruling that the heartbeat law can stand, the Biden administration will face great difficulty overturning the High Court's ruling.