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Abortion Advocates Defeated as Texas Supreme Court Crushes Attempt to Halt Heartbeat Abortion Ban

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Texas abortion providers on Friday conceded a final blow to their best hope of stopping the nation’s most restrictive abortion law after a new ruling ended what little path forward the U.S. Supreme Court had left for clinics.

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court spelled the coming end to a federal lawsuit that abortion clinics filed even before the restrictions took effect in September, but were then rejected at nearly every turn afterward.

The Texas Supreme Court is controlled entirely by Republicans.

“There is nothing left; this case is effectively over with respect to our challenge to the abortion ban,” said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which led the challenge against the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8, or the Texas Heartbeat Bill.

Although Texas abortion clinics are not dropping the lawsuit, they now said they expect it will be dismissed in the coming weeks or months.

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The Texas law bans abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

According to The New York Times, Senate Bill 8 defines a fetal heartbeat as “cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac.”

Friday’s ruling is likely to embolden other Republican-controlled states that are pressing forward with similar laws, including neighboring Oklahoma, where many Texas women have crossed state lines to get an abortion for the past six months.

The Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved a half-dozen anti-abortion measures, including a Texas-style ban.

Will Roe v. Wade be overturned?

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court turned on whether medical licensing officials had an enforcement role under Senate Bill 8, and therefore, could be sued by clinics that are reaching for any possible way to halt the restrictions.

But writing for the court, Justice Jeffrey Boyd said those state officials have no enforcement authority, “either directly or indirectly.”

Texas abortion providers already had acknowledged they were running out of options and that the law would stay in place for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. Supreme Court has signaled in a separate case out of Mississippi that it would roll back abortion rights, and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, in a ruling that is expected later this year.

The number of monthly abortions in Texas fell by more than 50 percent in the two months after the law took effect, according to state health figures.

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But that data tells only part of the story, and researchers say the number of Texas women who are going online to get abortion pills by mail has risen sharply.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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