Is the Texas ‘Heartbeat Bill’ the End of Roe v. Wade?

A recent abortion ban isn’t the victory it seems. But it is a test run for pro-life Christians.

Many people counted down until midnight last night, waiting not for a New Year but for the possibility of a post–Roe v. Wade America. That’s because, due to a legal technicality, the Supreme Court of the United States had until then to overturn a new Texas abortion law before it went into effect on September 1.

The fact that the Supreme Court didn’t intervene has some Christians wondering: Is Roe now effectively gone?

The reason this case, in particular, is of such intense interest to both sides of the abortion debate is because the law in question, Senate Bill 8, seems to effectively ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. Unlike the Mississippi law that will come before the Court this year, this law is different. It is not enforced by the state but rather by private persons who can sue anyone involved in an abortion—except the woman seeking the procedure.

Still, because a law seeming to prohibit abortion is now technically on the books, some have wondered if this means the almost fifty-year era of Roe v. Wade is at its end. And the answer to that is probably not—at least not yet.

Thought it’s hard to discern the motives of nine justices, it is well within the realm of possibility that the Court’s decision to stay silent was not a way of undoing Roe but rather a means of not making such a decision before the Mississippi Dobbs case.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization pertains to the State of Mississippi’s law banning most abortions after fifteen weeks from conception. If the law is upheld, it would directly challenge Roe’s framework of an almost unlimited right to abortion, especially before fetal viability (as defined by the Court). That case does …

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