Justice Sonia Sotomayor supreme court
The U.S. Supreme Court blocks New York from enforcing COVID-19 limits on churches. Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press
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With the Supreme Court of the United States allowing Texas to proceed with its six week abortion bill, one justice is voicing her displeasure — loudly. SCOTUS Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not mince words in her dissent against the conservative-majority court’s decision not to overturn SB8, Texas’ controversial new anti-choice bill.

While Roe V Wade remains legal across the nation, the new Texas law restricts abortion to six weeks even in cases of incest or rape. Many women do not even know they are pregnant at six weeks gestation. 

And Justice Sotomayor is not having it. “I cannot capture the totality of this harm in these pages,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. 

Lone dissenter makes her opinion known

Not only did Justice Sotomayor express dismay on behalf of women who are seeking the safe and legal procedure, but also those women’s healthcare providers outside Texas who are now inundated with requests for help. “Those with sufficient resources may spend thousands of dollars and multiple days anxiously seeking care from out of state providers so overwhelmed with Texas patients that they cannot adequately serve their own communities,” she wrote.

justice sonia sotomayor supreme court

The SCOTUS previously confirmed that they would examine the legality of SB8, after both healthcare providers and women in the state of Texas challenged the new law. However, the SCOTUS did not rule in a way that would strike down the legislation, now the most most restrictive of any state across the country. 

SB 8 not only limits abortion prior to a fetal heartbeat, it also allows for private citizens to sue those who aid and abet a woman in seeking an abortion. A hotline has been set up for people to report on those who help women obtain the safe and legal procedure with a financial bounty of at least $10,000. 

Court will hear case in November, too late for many

Regarding women who will be unable to obtain an abortion due to not knowing they are pregnant, Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted, “These circumstances are exceptional.” She continued with her blistering dissent, “Women seeking abortion care in Texas are entitled to relief from this Court now. Because of the Court’s failure to act today, that relief, if it comes, will be too late for many.”

In its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear oral arguments on the case in November, though it will allow the ban to remain in place until after the Court makes its final decision. The decision may not come for weeks or months, far too late for many women currently seeking abortions in the state.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...