Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor decried the high court’s refusal to block the Texas abortion law as “catastrophic.”
The court on Friday promptly agreed to review Texas Senate Bill 8 in response to concerns from abortion providers and the Justice Department. But it did not stop enforcement of the law.
Justice Sotomayor wrote in her seven-page opinion that she “cannot capture the totality of this harm in these pages.”
“But as these excerpts illustrate, the State (empowered by this Court’s inaction) has so thoroughly chilled the exercise of the right recognized in Roe as to nearly suspend it within its borders and strain access to it in other States. The State’s gambit has worked. The impact is catastrophic.”
The law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around the 6-week mark. Additionally, it allows private citizens to sue those who have “aided and abetted” in an abortion.
Sotomayor says there are women who become pregnant at the time S.B. 8 took effect, and “as I write these words, some of those women do not know they are pregnant.”
Sotomayor continued, expressing that the bill could drive some to seek abortions out-of-state, and those who cannot may be forced to “resort to dangerous methods of self-help,” or carry the pregnancy to term.
“None of this is seriously in dispute,” Sotomayor wrote. “These circumstances are exceptional. Women seeking abortion care in Texas are entitled to relief from this Court now. Because of the Court’s failure to act today, that relief, if it comes, will be too late for many.”