A new, controversial law that bans nearly all abortions in Texas went into effect on Sept. 1 after the United States Supreme Court failed to act on the request of abortion rights advocates.
Senate Bill 8, also known as “The Heartbeat Bill,” prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and does not exempt cases of rape or incest, becoming one of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S.
According to abortion providers, 85% to 90% of abortions occur after six weeks of pregnancy because it is around that time women discover they are pregnant, which could likely result to forcing many abortion clinics to close.
The law also enables private citizens to sue anyone who provides or “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks and awards those who win the lawsuits with at least $10,000 in damages.
According to the law, “aiding or abetting” an abortion includes providing financial assistance in obtaining the procedure an d driving a person to an abortion clinic.
Prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, condemned the Texas abortion law, saying that it violated the constitutional right established by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Biden said in a statement that the law “will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need” and “outrageously deputizes private citizens.”
Harris described the law as an “all-out assault on reproductive health.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration will always fight to protect access to healthcare and defend a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and determine her future,” Harris further said.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in the Texas abortion matter on an emergency basis.
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