On the evening of Wednesday, Sept.1, the US Supreme Court upheld the “Heartbeat act.” This Texas law bans abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy.
In a 5-4 vote, three Trump-appointed justices aligned with the two other conservatives on the bench, forming a majority. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s three liberals in their dissent.
In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor called the court’s decision “stunning,” later stating: “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.”
The new Texas law ignores nearly 50 years of necessary precedent that gives women the constitutional right to an abortion. Not only does this law ignore constitutional precedent, but it is a gross invasion of people with uteruses’ constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy.
Moreover, the mechanism that the law uses to impose its regulation is dangerous in its own right. With the use of a financial incentive, the Texas law turns regular citizens into bounty hunters.
The law describes that if a plaintiff successfully sues those involved in performing an abortion, the plaintiff may pocket up to $10,000. The state will reimburse them for any legal fees. Additionally, if the plaintiff loses, they are not required to pay the defendant’s legal costs.
Why would the Texas Legislature establish a law that turns Texas into a bounty hunter-like playground?
The Texas Legislature established citizen bounty hunters due to the binding precedent set by Roe V. Wade. This precedent states that “the State may not impose an undue burden on the woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.”
Texas’ new law works around this precedent by relying on citizens to enforce abortion bans when the state is not permitted. This legal contortion makes it difficult for federal courts to defend the constitutional right of women.
Said plainly, this is not only an attack on Supreme Court Constitutional precedent or a people with uteruses right to seek and have an abortion, but an attack on the very constitution itself, for it is an act in direct defiance of the 14th amendment.
It can not and should not be the case that a state can ignore federal constitutional precedent, and the amendments of the constitution, by redistributing the imposition of violative laws to its statespeople.
The Texas abortion ban is unconstitutional. The conservative Supreme Court majority failed women and the sanctity of the rule of law by upholding its dishonest and unethical doctrine.