The groups, including Planned Parenthood and other abortion and women’s health providers, told the court that the law would “immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85% of Texas abortion patients” and would likely force many abortion clinics to close.
The law, signed on May 19, is unusual in that it gives private citizens the power to enforce it by enabling them to sue anyone who assists a woman in getting an abortion past the six-week cutoff.
A federal judge rejected a bid to dismiss the case, prompting an immediate appeal to the New Orleans, Louisiana-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which halted further proceedings in the case. On Sunday, the 5th Circuit denied a request by the abortion providers to block the law pending the appeal.
The law incentivizes citizens to sue anyone suspected of helping a woman get an abortion, including people who drive a patient to a Texas clinic or provide financial help. Under the ban, those who successfully sue an abortion provider or health center worker are awarded at least $10,000.
It would be one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, effectively outlawing the procedure at a stage before many women are aware that they are pregnant.
Lawyers for abortion providers told the Supreme Court that the law, which is supposed to take effect Wednesday, “would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas” and likely force many clinics to close.