The U.S. Supreme Court could decide the fate of the recently-enacted Texas heartbeat bill, which bans abortion after six weeks gestation, as early as Monday.
The court recently announced its plan to release one opinion on Monday, but did not disclose which case would be decided, as reported by the Associated Press.
Speculation is mounting that Monday’s decision will be one of two cases heard by the Court regarding the landmark Texas pro-life bill, which went into effect on Sept. 1 amid national outcry, and would effectively ban abortion at six weeks of pregnancy.
The court heard nine oral arguments in October, two of which focused on the Texas law, and Monday is most likely the final day an opinion from the Court before oral arguments begin again on Dec. 1.
Texas’ legislation is noteworthy for its unique structure, which effectively gives a civil cause of action to private citizens to sue abortion providers and doctors who fail to comply with the new law.
The bill has been widely hailed by pro-life advocates, who estimate the bill has already reduced abortion rates in the state by 50 percent.
It is considered one of the nation’s most expansive piece of pro-life legislation, as it bans all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected—roughly at six weeks of pregnancy—and does not include the “rape or incest” exception.
If the nation’s highest court’s opinion on the Texas bill is not released on Monday, it will also hear another significant abortion case next month when it considers a challenge to a Mississippi law which effectively bans abortion after 15 weeks.
Both pieces of legislation are widely perceived as direct challenges to the court’s nearly half-a-century precedent set by Roe v. Wade, which severely restricted a state’s ability to enact legislation preventing abortion.
Both abortion cases will be the first heard by the newly-comprised Supreme Court, a third of which were appointed by President Donald Trump.