The Supreme Court on Friday left intact a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, but that clinics could continue their challenge against it in lower federal courts.

The move comes more than a month after the USSC heard arguments in a pair of challenges to the law – one from the Biden administration, and another from several abortion clinics that said the law effectively outlawed the practice in Texas.

The two cases, which will continue to be hashed out in a lower court, doesn’t actually address the constitutionality of the law – rather, it seeks to resolve procedural questions over who can sue and be sued. Justices spent over three hours mulling the issue on Nov. 1 due to its possible impact beyond abortion, according to USA Today.

The court has also recently heard arguments regarding Mississippi’s ban on most abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy – a case in which the state has asked the court to overturn Roe vs. Wade – and which the majority of Justices indicated they are inclined to agree with.

The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, bans abortion once cardiac activity is identified in an embryo, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. The law includes no exception for rape or incest but permits the procedure for “medical emergencies.”

But the cases at issue dealt with provisions of the law other than abortion, namely its enforcement. Rather than outlawing the procedure after six weeks and requiring state officials to enforce the prohibition, Texas authorized and incentivized private citizens to sue providers, nurses and anyone else who helped a person obtain an abortion in violation of the law. -USA Today

Texas’ recent decision to allow private citizens to sue providers has effectively halted abortion in the state – as providers have been shuttering clinics due to fears over potential liability. This has sent many abortion-seeking Texans across state lines to have their unborn children terminated.

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