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A restrictive abortion bill — which bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy — took effect at midnight in Texas.
The new bill is one of the most restrictive in the country.
This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked an anti-abortion organization from filing a lawsuit against several parties that might be involved in terminating a pregnancy.
Under the new law, abortions are outlawed whenever an ultrasound can detect a fetal “heartbeat.”
Medical experts insist that embryos don’t possess a heart at that developmental stage. The bill is also unfair as many women do not realize that they are pregnant before the six weeks stage. The new bill would prohibit at least 85% of the abortions taking place in the state.
“Patients will have to travel out of state — in the middle of a pandemic — to receive constitutionally guaranteed health care. And many will not have the means to do so,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), said in a statement, per The Washington Post.
The implementation of the bill, known as SB 8, would “shoot a large hole in the protection offered by Roe v. Wade,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, to the Texas Tribune.
“Most women in Texas who can afford it will get their abortions out of state,” Gostin said. “But for poor and rural women, the effects on their physical and mental health could be devastating.”
And those who do perform unlawful abortions?
According to CNN, Texas created a so-called “private right of action” to enforce the restriction, which deputizes private citizens to bring civil litigation — with the threat of $10,000 or more in damages. The punishment would be doled out not only to providers — but to anyone who helped a woman access an abortion after six weeks.