The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case over Texas' six-week abortion ban to a federal appeals court Thursday, just six days after the justices declined to overturn the ban while allowing opponents to continue with part of their challenge.
The high court sent the case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has repeatedly backed the law, Bloomberg News reported. The move rejected a request by clinics and doctors to send the matter directly to a trial judge who once blocked the law.
Justice Neil Gorsuch signed the court's order that granted the request of abortion clinics for the court to act speedily.
With the Supreme Court normally taking 25 days before issuing a formal judgment, Thursday's action was a partial victory for the providers, the Bloomberg report indicated, while noting that sending the case to the 5th circuit court, which has repeatedly supported the law, could cause further delays.
State Attorney General Ken Paxton and other Texas officials told the high court they planned to ask the circuit court to request that the Texas Supreme Court interpret a key provision before the case goes back to a trial court – something that could take months.
The Supreme Court on Friday left in place Texas’ ban on most abortions little more than a week after the court signaled it would roll back abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Five conservative justices, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, formed a majority to limit who can be sued by the clinics.
Providers sought to get the lawsuit back before U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, who previously blocked enforcement of the Texas abortion.
When Pitman ordered the law blocked in early October, the appeals court countermanded his order two days later.
"Given the ongoing chilling effect of the state law, the district court should resolve this litigation and enter appropriate relief without delay," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for himself and the court’s three liberals in a Dec. 10 partial dissent.
Marc Hearron, the Center for Reproductive Rights lawyer who represented the clinics at the high court, said, "The Supreme Court left only a small sliver of our case intact, and it’s clear that this part of the case will not block vigilante lawsuits from being filed. It’s also clear that Texas is determined to stop the plaintiffs from getting any relief in even the sliver of the case that is left."
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, in May signed into law a ban on abortions before many women even know they are pregnant. The law differs singularly from similar efforts nationwide — it leaves enforcement to private citizens, who can sue doctors or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.