Texas law banning abortions takes effect

Texas law that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected took effect Wednesday, after the U.S. Supreme Court did not take up an emergency request by pro-choice groups to block it.

The law effectively limits abortions after six weeks of conception. “No child should have her skull crushed and be ripped into pieces in an abortion,” tweeted Live Action President Lila Rose.

The Republican-backed law allows any Texas citizen to sue physicians or anyone who aids in or abets an abortion for up to $10,000, if a heartbeat was detected in the womb at the time of the abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court had until midnight on Tuesday to act on an emergency request by clinics and abortion advocacy groups. With the high court’s inaction, the law went into effect — making it the most restrictive law in the nation.

A group of abortion advocates held a protest called “Bans Off Our Bodies” at the Texas Capitol at noon on Wednesday.

“Texas’s S.B. 8 violates Texan’s rights but the Supreme Court has let it go into effect,” it tweeted. “We aren’t backing down and are still fighting. Everyone deserves access to abortion. #BansOffOurBodies

Since the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, abortion has become an increasingly polarizing issue, but it’s one that has a majority of support among Americans. An AP-NORC poll from June found that 57% believe abortions should be legal in all or most situations. Support increases when it comes to abortions in the first trimester, though it tapers off as time goes on in the pregnancy.

Abortion rights groups and women’s health providers, including Planned Parenthood, argue that the new law places an unconstitutional burden on the right to receiving an abortion and filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to block the Texas measure. The justices didn’t intervene before midnight Wednesday, which paved the way for it to become law.

“If permitted to take effect, S.B. 8 would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85% of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close,” the groups wrote in their application.

The high court is expected to eventually take up the Texas law and will also hear arguments this fall on another restrictive abortion measure out of Mississippi, which seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks.

In June 2020, the justices ruled against Louisiana’s abortion law that requires doctors who perform abortions to receive admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles from where the abortion is being performed. Chief Justice John Roberts emerged as a swing vote on the ruling and joined the four liberals on the court at the time. Justice Amy Coney Barrett has since joined the bench, filling the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg and solidifying the rightward drift of the court.

With action on abortions from the federal judiciary hanging in the balance, Democrats in Congress want to pass a law that’d prohibit states or localities from imposing certain restrictions, including providing medically inaccurate information before or during the procedure, asking patients to say why they’re seeking one and requiring “unncesssary” tests or in-person visits.

“The right to abortion is guaranteed under the Constitution, and we cannot allow radical state lawmakers to undermine that right for political gain,” House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of New York. “With the court’s inaction, it is clearer than ever that Congress must take bold action to preserve and expand abortion access in the wake of these existential threats, starting by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

Source – U.S News