Federal appeals court sends case about Texas abortion law to the state's Supreme Court

The controversial law, which has been bounced around the U.S. court system, will now head to the state's majority-Republican Supreme Court

Updated: January 18, 2022 - 12:35pm

A federal appeals court on Monday handed off a case regarding Texas' new abortion law to the state's Supreme Court, on which primarily Republican-appointed judges sit. 

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans, ruled 2-1 that "the unresolved questions of state law must be certified to the Texas Supreme Court."

The fetal heartbeat law bans abortions in the state after about six weeks of pregnancy and uses the novel approach of allowing residents to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain such a procedure.

Abortion providers continuing to fight the implementation of the law want the suit to head back to an Austin federal court, a body that has been more sympathetic to their position and previously placed a temporary block on the restrictions.

It is unclear when the Texas Supreme Court will take up the case. 

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law would be allowed to remain in place while abortion providers continued forward with their suit against it.