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Texas abortion law gets speedy Supreme Court hearing Monday

By Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News

Friday, October 29, 2021 (Kaiser News) – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on November 1 that challenge the constitutionality of a new Texas abortion law – only days after agreeing to hear the case. This is just one of many unusual things about the Texas law, which has stopped almost all abortions in the country’s second most populous state.

The court plans to hear another major abortion case this fall: Judges previously set December 1 as the day for arguments in a Mississippi case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and other decisions that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion before a fetus are viable.

The Supreme Court does not have to weigh in on the constitutional right to abortion in the Texas case, which are actually two separate cases brought together – one brought by the Biden Department of Justice and a second brought by abortion providers in Texas. The court instead asked attorneys to weigh in on Texas law’s unique enforcement mechanism. Designed to evade legal challenges, the law, SB 8, rests not with Texas officials, but with private citizens who can sue anyone who performs an abortion or can “help and assist” someone in obtaining an abortion. The law went into effect on September 1 after the Supreme Court denied earlier requests to annul it. It bans abortions after six weeks, far ahead of the generally accepted standard of living of 22 to 24 weeks.

Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog breaks down the issues before the court and what the court can do about Texas’ abortion law in this conversation for KHN’s “What the Health?” which aired Thursday. She notes this is the fastest turnaround for a case heard by the judges since the Bush v. On decided in the 2000 presidential election.

“Everything about this is so unusual,” she said.

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen to Acast. And subscribe to KHN’s What the Health? on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pocket Plaster or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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