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In the United States, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed federal courts to intervene against a law severely restricting abortion in Texas. This decision, made by eight of the nine judges of the Court, in no way modifies the text of the law.
Without going so far as to suspend it, the Supreme Court of the United States authorized, Friday, December 10, the federal courts to intervene against a very restrictive law in Texas on abortion.
This half-hearted decision removes the procedural obstacles that have so far prevented federal judges from blocking Texan law, which yet violates the jurisprudence of the High Court.
The law, which came into force on September 1 in this vast conservative southern state, prohibits abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is noticeable, i.e. after six weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of incest or rape.
>> To read: In Texas, it is now almost impossible to have an abortion
The Supreme Court recognized in 1973 and confirmed in 1992 the right of American women to have an abortion as long as the fetus is not viable, that is to say around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. But Texas has imagined an exceptional device which has so far complicated the intervention of the federal justice.
Its law entrusts citizens “exclusively” with the task of enforcing this prohibition, by encouraging them to take civil action against people and organizations which help women to have abortions against the promise of 10,000 dollars in compensation.
The inaction of the Supreme Court criticized on the left
Seized urgently at the time of the entry into force of the text, the Supreme Court hid behind these “new questions of procedure” to refuse to intervene.
His inaction, seen as a sign of the influence of the three magistrates appointed by Donald Trump, had been strongly criticized on the left. The legal battle then intensified, forcing her to take full charge of the case.
During a hearing on November 1, a majority of its judges had displayed their skepticism about the mechanism of the law.
Finally, “eight members of the Court agree that” the principle which protects the sovereignty of the 50 states, “does not prevent prosecutions in federal courts,” according to their decision, to which only the conservative judge Clarence Thomas did not associate.
The head of the Court, John Roberts, and the three progressive magistrates, added, in a separate text, wanting that the courts quickly block this law “given its sinister and persistent effects”.