STATEMENT: Supreme Court’s skepticism of subversion of SB 8 judicial review underscores Court’s hostility to abortion rights

Washington, DC – Today the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a series of cases challenging SB 8, Texas’ extreme six-week abortion ban that delegates private citizens to serve as potential executors. The cases do not concern the right to abortion itself, but rather the validity of the bounty hunter law enforcement scheme, which sought to undermine the constitutional right to abortion while avoiding a judicial review. Maggie Jo Buchanan, Acting Director of the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

SB 8 essentially eliminated abortion in Texas, making Roe vs. Wade effectively meaningless to about 1 in 10 American women of childbearing age. While we are heartened that a majority of justices appeared to cast doubt on Texas’ plan to avoid judicial review of the ban, we remain outraged that the court allowed the law to go into effect. almost two months ago despite these clear legal issues. As a result, Texans seeking abortions after six weeks of pregnancy continue to suffer irreparable harm. The court’s failure to block the law has hurt people of color, low-income people, people with disabilities, immigrants, youth, and LGBTQ people the most, among others. Furthermore, failure to block the law demonstrates the court’s overt hostility to abortion rights and highlights the vulnerability of Roe vs. Wadeis almost 50 years of precedent.

The court should immediately reverse the 5th Circuit’s decision and ban the law. Failure to do so would not only inflict continued harm on Texans, but would also encourage other states to pass their own post-judicial bills to undermine any constitutional rights they discriminate against. The threat of deer should not be minimized or ignored as we await the court’s decision in these two and future cases. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, when the right to abortion itself will be squarely before this far-right court.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6292.