Jan. 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court denied on Thursday abortion providers’ latest request to intervene in the ongoing legal challenge against Texas’ restrictive abortion law, cutting off one of the few remaining paths to a speedy victory for abortion providers.
The case is currently before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the case to the Texas Supreme Court. That is expected to add months to the legal proceedings.
Abortion providers were hoping the U.S. Supreme Court would direct the 5th Circuit to send the case to federal district court, where a judge previously blocked the law.
Abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy have been banned in Texas since Sept. 1. The law has a unique enforcement mechanism that allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who “aids and abets” in a prohibited abortion, making it extremely difficult to challenge in court.
In December, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out most of the arguments against the law, but allowed a narrow challenge to proceed against medical licensing officials. It is that narrow challenge that abortion providers were hoping would be allowed to play out in district court.
“Texas wagered that this Court did not mean what little it said…or, at least, that this Court would not stand behind those words, meager as they were,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissent. “That bet has paid off.”