Unborn babies just won another Texas-sized legal victory. On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously ended the abortion industry's challenge to the state's 6-week abortion ban because of its unique enforcement mechanism through private legal action.
"Texas law does not authorize the state-agency executives to enforce the Act's requirements, either directly or indirectly," said the court, so abortion groups could not invalidate the law by suing them. The law has already deterred Texas abortion businesses, saving the lives of 100 babies a day.
The Texas Heartbeat Act has ricocheted around America's legal system since it passed into law in 2021. Abortion interests immediately filed a lawsuit against state officials to block enforcement of the law, as they always do. Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, complained, "the courts have allowed Texas to nullify a constitutional right," a profound insight to anyone who has never read the Constitution.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in November and returned the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in December with a complex decision determining that the lawsuit could proceed against state licensing officials, but not other state officials. The Fifth Circuit, in turn, sent the case to the Texas Supreme Court to determine whether licensing officials have authority, under Texas law, to enforce the act. The Texas Supreme Court answered in the negative. In Friday's decision, they pointed to "emphatic, unambiguous and repeated provisions" in the act declaring private lawsuits are the "exclusive means" of enforcement. For those who objected to their ruling, they offered this explanation, "we cannot rewrite the statute."
"Texas's Supreme Court has rightly delivered the ultimate victory to Texas's life-saving law protecting unborn lives," said Katherine Beck Johnson, research fellow for legal and policy studies at Family Research Council. "More states should look to Texas's example and protect the unborn." They are, in fact. Pro-life bills using private enforcement mechanisms to avoid legal defeats have been introduced in at least 9 other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, even the melodrama is bigger in Texas.
"The courts have failed us," bemoaned Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and president of Whole Woman's Health and Whole Woman's Health Alliance, an organization used to getting its way in court. In 2016, the Supreme Court invalidated a Texas law requiring abortionists to have hospital-admitting privileges in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. Apparently, that unjust and unjustifiable decision left the Texas abortion giant with the mistaken impression that courts exist to protect special abortion carveouts against the will of the people.
Miller continued, "The situation is becoming increasingly dire, and now neighboring states -- where we have been sending patients -- are about to pass similar bans. Where will Texans go then?" They could go to doctors who will act in the best interest of the mother and her child. They could go to churches and other faith-based groups for love and community. They could go to pregnancy care centers that provide counseling, support, and supplies at little to no cost. In the most desperate situations, they could go to the long list of families looking to adopt. Come on, this isn't a telenovela.
Despite the radical Left's complete stranglehold on government in Washington, states are continuing to advance commonsense, pro-life policies. "Countless lives have been saved, the world is still turning, and other states are following suit," said Johnson.
"We've known that this lawsuit all along was just invalid and should have been dismissed," said Texas Right to Life spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz, but the movement won't "let our foot off the gas yet."
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on Family Research Council.