Texas Law Banning Abortions After 6 Weeks Goes Into Effect as Supreme Court Fails to Intervene

Many abortion rights groups and practitioners had urged the Supreme Court to act ahead of the bill taking effect.
Many abortion rights groups and practitioners had urged the Supreme Court to act ahead of the bill taking effect.Getty Images

In anticipation of the new Texas abortion ban taking effect at midnight, some clinics provided abortions until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night.

A Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect Wednesday despite calls for the Supreme Court to intervene. The state is now home to the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country, and abortion rights groups and providers say the new law will impact at least 85% of all abortions performed in Texas, abortion rights groups said in a filing.

“Many Texans will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term, to attempt to scrape together funds to obtain an abortion out of state, or possibly to attempt to self-manage their own abortions without access to accurate medical information,” lawyers representing pro-abortion organizations including health care providers, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood wrote in the filing.

In anticipation of the law coming into effect at midnight September 1, abortion providers across the state worked into the night Tuesday to see patients and provide abortions.

Whole Woman’s Health, a health care group involved in the filing, tweeted that their clinics had staff and doctors working until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night to provide abortions, despite anti-abortion protesters also active outside in their parking lots.

“Our waiting rooms are filled with patients and their loved ones. Right now,” they said in an 11 p.m. Tweet. “We are so proud of Team Whole Woman’s Health. No matter what the courts say, you are good and right and strong and beautiful.”

The move is a victory for conservatives and some Republicans, but prominent Democrats including President Joe Biden are slamming the new law and vowing to act to “protect and defend” the reproductive rights established under Roe v. Wade.

“This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes.

“And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual,” the statement continued.

The bill is based on what some anti-abortion advocates called a “fetal heartbeat” – a term experts including the president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists call “misleading.”

“What is interpreted as a heartbeat in these bills is actually electrically induced flickering of a portion of the fetal tissue that will become the heart as the embryo develops,” Dr. Ted Anderson, who represents nearly 60,000 physicians across the country, told The Guardian.

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