Supreme Court, Breaking Silence, Won’t Block Texas Abortion Law


A divided Supreme Court late Wednesday refused to block one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, a unique Texas statute that bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Because the court did not act earlier in the day, the law already had taken effect, and clinics in Texas said they had stopped providing abortions starting at six weeks after a woman’s last period.

The court’s five most consistent conservatives — Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., plus President Donald Trump’s nominees to the court, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — said they would let the law stand while the legal battle over it continues.

But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s three liberals to say he would have kept the law from being implemented while the legality of the law was weighed in court. He described the Texas statute’s enforcement plan as “not only unusual, but unprecedented” and said it deserved more exacting judicial scrutiny.


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