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(LifeSiteNews) – This week’s enactment of a Texas law that has effectively halted abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy in the Lone Star State has sparked a flurry of questions about the law and its prospects in court. LifeSiteNews’ own Jim Hale sat down Thursday with Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel Peter Breen for answers.

Signed in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, the Act requires abortionists to screen for a preborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibits abortion if a heartbeat can be heard (generally as early as six weeks), with exceptions only for medical emergencies. Unlike most state abortion restrictions, the law “exclusively” relies on private citizens to bring civil suits against abortionists, punishable by a minimum of $10,000 in damages.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency petition to block the law, on the grounds that the petition had not named anyone planning to file enforcement suits against abortionists.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that state courts are where “the action will shift now,” Breen explained. “The difficulty [for abortion defenders] is, the law was drawn up so that the state officials wouldn’t do anything under the law. So there really was no reason to bring a federal action.”

Breen cautioned pro-lifers to keep in mind that the ruling was “not a full victory for us; it’s a temporary victory, the abortion clinics are closed, that means babies lives are being saved. But [abortion defenders are] gonna get a full day in court.”

NBC News reported Tuesday evening that “all 11 of the Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas” have “stopped scheduling visits after Sept. 1 for abortions past six weeks of pregnancy,” and that Whole Woman’s Health claims that its “four clinics in Texas will also comply with the law and prohibit abortion at seven weeks or less depending on the ultrasound results and if cardiac activity is detected.”

As for the law’s unusual enforcement mechanism, Breen explained that such laws are not entirely unprecedented. “The ability of an individual to enforce a law relating to the public good, we call it a private attorney general statute,” he said, surmising that the Texas Legislature chose this method because “the other side had very particular jurisdictions where they would go file their challenges to abortion statutes, they knew the judges they would get, and they knew they would get a good result.”

Under the Texas Heartbeat Act, however, “our side can file lawsuits in more friendly jurisdictions and get better decisions as you go up the chain,” Breen said. Further, further lawsuits against the law won’t be triggered until someone actually commits an illegal abortion, meaning that “hypothetically, if all of the abortion clinics in Texas just stop doing abortions after a heartbeat is detected…there would never need to be a challenge brought in court, no one would ever need to file a lawsuit.”

“The difficulty is, the other side has so distorted the law, we call it the abortion distortion in the law, that they want special treatment for abortion in every case,” Breen added. “Everything’s an emergency because it deals with their cherished right of abortion.” But now “they’re getting the same treatment as any other sort of lawsuit on any other issue.”

Breen granted that the law’s unusual mechanism was necessitated by the “weird posture” the pro-life movement finds itself in legally, which he said “all goes back to the Supreme Court creating a right to abortion out of nothing.”

The long-term fate of the Texas law and other pro-life protections across the country is still expected to rest on whether the Supreme Court overturns decades of pro-abortion precedent in its upcoming hearing on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. It remains unclear just how the current Court’s Republican-appointed majority will rule on the substantive questions.

Hale specifically asked Breen about Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and has repeatedly disappointed conservatives on major cases, including his vote with the Court’s liberals on the Texas law.

“It’s tough to see with him,” Breen said. “We in the pro-life community know he has personal family ties to the pro-life movement, we know he is personally pro-life…I still hold out hope that on a direct challenge like is provided in the Mississippi lawsuit later this year, that he will take the same position that he has held himself personally and professionally for so many years.”

While the Court’s decision this week was purely procedural, and contained disclaimers that it was not yet siding with anyone on the substantive questions, Breen still took it as a good omen for the future, suggesting that the justices would have been more likely to put a hold on the Texas law if they knew they would be reaffirming the “right” to abortion next year anyway. He also speculated that an abortion ban taking effect for an extended period in America’s second-largest state might help sway “reticent justices.”

Finally, Hale asked Breen how he stays optimistic despite the grave issues the country faces.

“One thing I’ve seen through this whole COVID business is, every time I have tried to just take a little extra grace with everyone I’m dealing with, every situation I’m in the middle of, understand that my friends and neighbors, we’ve all been impacted by this,” he said. “And it’s almost rewired our brains to some extent.”

“Are there horrible things happening? Yes, oh my goodness, have you seen what they’re trying to do in the schools and all these mandates and just the craziness,” he continued. “But boy there’s a wonderful future here. You’re gonna be able to work from home anywhere, you can affiliate and associate with anybody you like, we can reach out and chat with each other like we’re in the same room…so that is an incredible future, and our little kiddos…they’re gonna live in an incredible world where they can do, it’s just spectacular what they can do. And so for those of us of faith, we are going to be able to exercise it in ways we never even imagined.”

“I look at these problems and almost say, these are transitory issues that human ingenuity, with the good Lord’s grace, are going to transcend, almost,” Breen predicted.