Advocates and providers for abortions asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block Texas’ abortion ban. The ban prohibits people from terminating pregnancies after six weeks. The law will take effect on Wednesday.
The controversial ban allows individuals to file lawsuits against anyone who is providing or seeking abortion services. Anyone in violation of the law will have to pay $10,000 to the person that filed the lawsuit.
Pro-abortion groups, such as Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights say that the abortion ban “would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas.”
“Patients who can scrape together resources will be forced to attempt to leave the state to obtain an abortion, and many will be delayed until later in pregnancy,” lawyers for the abortion providers wrote to the Court. “The remaining Texas who need an abortion will be forced to remain pregnant against their will or attempt to end their pregnancies without medical supervision.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the “fetal heartbeat bill” in May.
“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” the Governor said in May at the bill signing ceremony.
The abortion-rights organizations argue the state strategically wrote the bill to shield it from federal review.
“It’s a very unique law, and it’s a very clever law,” Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston, said. “Planned Parenthood can’t go to court and sue Attorney General [Ken] Paxton like they usually would because he has no role in enforcing the statute. They have to basically sit and wait to be sued.”
“Every citizen is now a private attorney general,” Blackman said. “You can have random people who are against abortion start suing tomorrow.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, President, and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health believes that the measure takes away women’s rights and forces them to continue a pregnancy against their will.
“Texans, like everyone else in this country, should be able to count on safe abortion care in their own state,” Hagstrom Miller said. “No one should be forced to drive hundreds of miles or be made to continue a pregnancy against their will, yet that’s what will happen unless the Supreme Court steps in.”
Governor Abbott signed the law after the United States Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case about Mississippi’s fifteen-week abortion ban.
According to Texas Tribune, more than 56,000 abortions were performed in Texas in 2019.
Texas Right to Life dubbed the legislation as a “landmark victory.”
“Texas Right to Life reminds our elected officials of their solemn duty to protect the lives of their citizens, especially the most vulnerable and innocent Texans in the womb. The signing of the Texas Heartbeat Act marks a historic step in the battle to protect life.”
The Heartbeat Act makes things more complicated for women that are seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
“When you factor in the time it takes to confirm a pregnancy, consider your options and make a decision, schedule an appointment and comply with all the restrictions politicians have already put in place for patients and providers, a six-week ban essentially bans abortion outright,” Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said.