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The U.S. Supreme Court late on Wednesday delivered a stunning victory to the pro-life community – refusing to block a Texas ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. It is a major defeat for abortion rights. The decision also allows a law prohibiting the vast majority of abortions in the state to remain in place.

“Today is historic for law and life,” Texas Values president Jonathan Saenz said in a statement. “The Texas Heartbeat Act is the first ever law of its type to go into effect.  Starting today, babies and mothers will be spared from an abortion in Texas when a baby’s heartbeat is detected.  God bless Texas and courageous leaders like Sen. Bryan Hughes, Rep. Shelby Slawson, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and his team, and thousands of pro-life supporters for making this day possible.”

The justices on a 5-4 vote denied an emergency request by abortion and women’s health providers for an injunction barring enforcement of the ban, which went into effect early on Wednesday, while litigation continues in their lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh & Barrett voted not to block the law. Chief Justice Roberts joined the three liberals (Breyer, Sotomayor & Kagan) in dissent.

“The court’s order is stunning,” wrote liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissenting opinion.

“Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” she added.

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