After losing another effort to have the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals block the law, the U.S. Department of Justice now plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. The Biden administration says the Heartbeat Act – which bars almost all abortions once a baby's heartbeat is detected and allows private citizens to sue abortionists that violate the law – infringes on a woman's "right to an abortion."
"It is settled constitutional law that 'a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,'" Attorney General Merrick Garland argued in September. "But Texas has done just that."
Texas pro-life groups say the law saves the lives of babies and women from abortion.
"We're so excited that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again stood with the Texas Heartbeat Act," says Kim Schwartz of Texas Right to Life. "Their ruling means that the Texas Heartbeat Act can stay in effect while litigation continues. This legal battle is not finished. We're actually not even on the merits of the case yet. We're … mainly on whether the Heartbeat Act can stay in effect while we are having these discussions in court."
Schwartz tells American Family News this is important for two reasons.
"The first reason is the immediate effect that it has, that the law will continue to save babies every single day while this court case progresses," she explains. "The second importance that this ruling has is that even though we're not on the actual merits of the case yet, we actually haven't decided whether the Biden lawsuit is valid, whether their arguments are valid or not. We're not there yet, but this positively signals how the court might rule once we get to the end of the road."
There are almost two dozen other cases right now related to the Texas Heartbeat Act. Many of them are from the abortion industry against Texas Right to Life specifically.
"The Department of Justice one is the most high-profile," says Schwartz. "The abortion industry does not know what to do to try to take down this law, and they can't run their normal playbook to strike down pro-life laws like they normally do, so they're grasping at everything," she concludes.