The governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, signed a law on May 19 that prohibits abortions in the state after six weeks of gestation. Likewise, the rule allows anyone to sue doctors who carry out the termination of pregnancy after that period. The law puts Texas on the list of more than a dozen other territories that prohibit abortion once the fetus’s heart begins to beat.
Texas’ anti-abortion law is among the most restrictive in the United States. The new rule against abortion before many women know they are pregnant also allows anyone to sue the doctors who perform it.
The measure aims to veto voluntary termination of pregnancy after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs around the sixth week of gestation. “The life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” said Conservative Governor Greg Abbott after signing the regulation.
Currently, in Texas abortion is allowed up to 20 weeks, with exceptions for a woman with a life-threatening medical condition or if the fetus has a serious abnormality. There, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of these practices occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
The Texas version is unique in that it allows anyone, even someone out of state, to sue an abortion provider or anyone else who has assisted someone with an abortion after the time limit allowed, and carries financial penalties of up to $ 10,000 per defendant.
Critics say the provision would allow abortion opponents to flood the courts with lawsuits to harass from doctors, patients, nurses, and domestic violence counselors, to a friend who takes a woman to a clinic, or even a paying parent. by procedure.
The objections in the courts to the limitation of abortion
Pro-abortion activists have already signaled that they will defy the law. “The objective is clear: to relentlessly attack our reproductive rights until abortion is a right in name only. Passing these bills is not leadership, it is cruelty and extremism, ”said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
The regulations for the second most populous state in the US are scheduled to go into effect next September. However, there is a history of courts in other states that have prevented compliance with these regulations.
The new Texas law is part of a wave of abortion-like bans with so-called “heartbeat” bills passed in Republican-led states. Nearly a dozen states have passed similar bans, according to the reproductive health research organization Guttmacher Institute, but none have gone into effect due to legal challenges.
Last February, the Governor of North Carolina, Henry McMaster, signed a measure that would prohibit almost all causes of abortion. The legislation will only go into effect if the conservative US Supreme Court takes steps to overturn the ruling that has protected abortion rights in this country for nearly 50 years.
Lawmakers supporting such legislation have said it intends to repeal the Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision of the United States Supreme Court that has guaranteed the right of women to terminate their pregnancy and that established a “trimester” of the period in which abortion can be carried out.
Last Monday, the highest court confirmed that it will review the law that prohibits abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of gestation. Abortion rights activists worry that a favorable ruling in that state could set the stage to allow even more restrictions across the country, including so-called ‘heartbeat’ bills.
The decision on that status could be known in the spring of 2022, according to estimates by the US press.