The US Supreme Court today agreed to hear a challenge by President Joe Biden's administration and abortion providers to a Texas law that imposes a near-total ban on the procedure.

The case, to be heard on 1 November, will determine the fate of the toughest abortion law in the United States.

It is the second major abortion case that the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, has scheduled for the coming months.

There are also legal arguments set for 1 December over the legality of a restrictive Mississippi abortion law.

The Texas and Mississippi measures are among a series of Republican-backed laws passed at the state level limiting abortion rights - coming at a time when abortion opponents are hoping that the Supreme Court will overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade that legalised the procedure across the US.

Mississippi has asked the justices to overturn Roe v Wade,and the Texas attorney general yesterday signalled that he also would like to see that ruling fall.

The justices today deferred a decision on President Biden administration's request that the justices block the Texas law while the litigation continues, prompting a dissent from liberal Justice Sotomayor.

Lower courts already have blocked the Mississippi law.

It is rare that the US Supreme Court would, as it did in this case, decide to hear arguments while bypassing lower courts that were already considering the Texas dispute, indicating that the justices have deemed the matter of high public importance and requiring immediate review.

The Texas measure bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, a point when many women do not yet realise they are pregnant.

It makes an exception for a documented medical emergency but not for cases of rape or incest.

The Biden administration sued in September, challenging the legality of the Texas law.

In taking up the case, the Supreme Court said it will resolve whether the federal government is permitted to bring a lawsuit against the state or other parties to prohibit the abortion ban from being enforced.

The other challenge that the justices took up, filed by Texas abortion providers, asks the court to decide whether the design of the state's law, which allows private citizens rather than the government to enforce the ban, is permissible.

The providers, as well as the White House, have said the law is designed to evade federal court review.