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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Opinion

Supreme Court failed to protect constitutional rights with Texas abortion decision


SCOTUS failed to protect constitutional rights with Texas abortion decision

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit by abortion providers against the new Texas abortion law can continue, but the ruling also allowed the law to still be enforced. This is a horrible decision by the Supreme Court and will continue to harm constitutional rights in Texas.

Some have considered this a partial victory since it doesn’t stop the fight against this law. However, because a decision wasn’t really reached about the law, this means abortion rights are still being severely threatened. 

The Supreme Court will hear a similar case from Mississippi in the summer that could completely take away all abortion rights in this country. This lack of finality in this Supreme Court decision keeps abortion rights at risk.

This law only means that abortion providers can keep fighting the abortion law, it doesn’t actually allow them to keep providing abortions. So this doesn’t actually help people who need to terminate a pregnancy right now.

Abortion providers can’t even sue the law’s enforcers, which is how people usually would go about stopping a law, as they can only sue state licensing officials. This makes it harder to fight against it. 

It also doesn’t prevent people from reporting women or abortion providers for $10,000- one of the more controversial aspects of the law. Private citizens still have the power to report women they suspect had an abortion. Women still don’t have the right to privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution. 

It’s nice that pro-abortion activists can still continue to fight against this unconstitutional law, but with lower courts as they are, many are packed with conservatives which means the lawsuits are unlikely to succeed. 

One state district judge even admitted that the law is against the state’s constitution, but didn’t attempt to stop the law from going into effect. 

Similarly, many Supreme Court Justices, conservatives and progressives alike showed concern about how the Texas law could be applied to other constitutionally protected laws. Justice Kavanaugh, who is known to be conservative, said that it could be used to turn against free speech rights, religious freedom and gun rights.

The Justices showed their concern but did nothing to directly stop the law that can possibly put other constitutionally protected rights into question. Their lack of action does not do anything to protect the rights of U.S. citizens. 

Even gun rights advocates have turned against this new abortion law due to how it could be applied to the Second Amendment rights.

Their fear is actually not unfounded since California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to allow citizens to sue anyone who plays a part in making, selling or distributing assault weapons in an effort to ban assault weapons. This is very similar to how Texas citizens can sue abortion providers. 

The Texas abortion law puts many constitutional laws at risk. The U.S. Supreme Court, an institution that is supposed to protect the constitutional laws of citizens, has failed to fulfill that purpose. This law puts abortion and so many other rights at risk, and the Supreme Court should have stopped it. 

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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