Texas Heartbeat Act (S.B. 8) Litigation: Supreme Court Identifies Narrow Path for Challenges to Texas Abortion Law [December 13, 2021]   [open pdf - 778KB]

From the Document: "On December 10, 2021, the Supreme Court issued decisions in 'United States v. Texas' and 'Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson'. Both cases involved challenges to the Texas Heartbeat Act, also known as S.B. 8, a Texas state law that allows private citizens to sue healthcare providers and others who perform or abet abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The plaintiffs in both cases claim that S.B. 8 is unconstitutional under Supreme Court abortion precedents such as 'Roe v. Wade'. The questions before the Court in 'Texas' and 'Whole Woman's Health' were whether the plaintiffs could challenge S.B. 8 before it was enforced against them and, if so, who the defendants should be. In its December 10 decision in 'Whole Woman's Health' [hyperlink], the Court held that a constitutional challenge could proceed against certain Texas medical licensing officials, but not against Texas court officials, the state attorney general, or a private defendant. The Court dismissed [hyperlink] 'United States v. Texas' as improvidently granted. The Court's opinions in the two cases did not address the constitutional right to abortion or the continuing validity of 'Roe v. Wade'. [...] This Legal Sidebar briefly summarizes the relevant legal background related to S.B. 8 and the novel procedural questions regarding challenges to the law. It next outlines the lower court proceedings in 'Texas' and 'Whole Woman's Health' before discussing the Supreme Court's decisions in the two cases. The Sidebar concludes with selected considerations for Congress related to the S.B. 8 litigation."

Report Number:
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10668
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
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