NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court dealt yet another defeat to opponents of Texas’ strict abortion law on Monday by steering the case to the side of the state’s Republican-majority Supreme Court, making fear that the near total ban on abortion will remain intact for the foreseeable future.
The Texas law that bans abortion once heart activity is detected — usually about six weeks, before some women know they’re pregnant — has been in effect since September. In December, the US Supreme Court upheld the law and allowed only a limited challenge to the restrictions.
The abortion providers wanted their lawsuit sent to a federal court in Austin, which has so far been the only one to block the restrictions — albeit for just a few days. Instead, the 5th Court of Appeals for the United States Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, returned the case to the Texas Supreme Court, which is entirely controlled by nine Republican justices.
There is no timeline for when the state Supreme Court might hear the case.
The Supreme Court signaled last month in a separate Mississippi case that it would strike down abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade, in a decision expected later this year.