The U.S. Supreme Court issuing an unsigned order refusing to block a Texas abortion ban while it faces a legal challenge stunned many and marked a significant moment in the United States’ history of reproductive rights.
A sharply divided Supreme Court said it will not block a new Texas law that deputizes any Texan to enforce a six-week ban on abortions. Five justices: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, explained in a brief, unsigned majority opinion that the abortion advocates asking for an emergency stay “raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue,” but they were unable to untangle the “complex and novel antecedent procedural questions” raised by the law. Wow!
In every case the Supreme Court agrees to hear, aren’t there complex and novel antecedent procedural questions raised by the law which it must be able to untangle?
The four dissenters: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan argue in separate rebuttals that their five colleagues, without any real debate, were rewarding Texas lawmakers for inventing a novel scheme to stomp on decades of Supreme Court precedent.
Roberts would have granted “preliminary relief” at least until “the courts may consider whether a state can avoid responsibility for its laws in such a manner.”
Sotomayor was more direct, calling the court’s decision “stunning” and saying the five-justice majority “opted to bury their heads in the sand” while Texas “flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents” by outsourcing the enforcement of unconstitutional laws to its citizenry.” Essentially, “the Texas Legislature has deputized the state’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.”
Kagan said the court should not have greenlighted a “patently unconstitutional law” with barely any discussion and “less than 72 hours’ thought.”
As has been true throughout history, making abortion illegal won’t stop abortions. It just stops legal abortions. If a woman is pregnant and does not wish to be, she will find a way to end her pregnancy. Before Roe v. Wade, desperate women relied on back-alley providers and dangerous home remedies.
Excuse me, but aren’t these sanctimonious abortion- police the very same people beating the drum for personal freedom of choice, including the choice to spread deadly COVID?
The self-righteousness of Texas legislators will inevitably be challenged after one of their family members requires an abortion due to rape, incest, teenage pregnancy, a fetus with a serious defect, or some other reason that’s legally accepted in other states.
Since Texas is allowing regular citizens to sue anyone aiding and abetting an abortion, then maybe it can also have a law that would allow Texans to sue people not wearing a mask or refusing to get vaccinated. After all, the legislators are against abortions, because they feel it is murdering innocent children. Refusing to take the proper steps to avoid getting and giving to others the potentially deadly COVID-19 is along the same lines.
Truth be told, it’s difficult to imagine this absurd, horrendous law will withstand, ultimately, Supreme Court scrutiny. If it does, then our system of justice is truly lost.
Bernard J. Rabik, a Hopewell Township attorney, is an opinion columnist for The Times.