Texas clinics and health centers have been turning down women seeking abortion as a new Texas abortion law has taken effect on September 1, 2021. Senate Bill 8 has been dubbed the harshest abortion law in the country as it makes a pregnancy termination past six weeks illegal.
However, most women who undergo abortion in Texas are at least in their sixth week of pregnancy when they become aware of their condition. According to providers, this covers 85 percent of their procedures.
The new law also gives the right to individuals or groups, instead of state officials, to file a civil lawsuit aimed at providers or anyone guilty of terminating a pregnancy when there is a detectable cardiac activity in the baby.
So far, most service providers, including Planned Parenthood and Whole Women's Health, will comply with the new law despite saying the extreme ban is unconstitutional for women who can no longer make important decisions for their health and wellbeing. These clinics are also at risk of shutting down completely if the law is not overturned.
Supreme Court Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court announced just before midnight of September 1 that it would not move to block the activation of the new Texas abortion law at this point. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that their 5-4 decision is not a ruling on the "constitutionality of the law," as raised by the pro-abortion advocates and providers that filed an emergency request. However, Roberts said that the request to block the law required "complex and novel" legal procedures.
Anti-abortion advocates claim this has been an enormous victory since the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that gave abortion rights to women. However, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who had a dissenting decision, said that the Supreme Court's inaction had been a "breathtaking act of defiance" against women and the Constitution. She said that the other justices chose to "bury their heads in the sand."
Hours before the new Texas abortion law took effect, providers and clinics had women waiting for procedures. One doctor at the Whole Woman's Health center cried after her final abortion producer at midnight while anti-abortion protesters were outside the building.
President Joe Biden Reacts
After the Supreme Court's decision, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the Texas law is a blatant violation of a person's constitutional right. He said his administration plan to "protect and defend" the ruling established in the Roe v Wade case, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki didn't detail any specific steps.
According to Politico, abortion advocates have been lobbying at the Congress and White House to develop a strategy as the Supreme Court is also set to hear the 15-week abortion ban for Mississippi. However, some Democrats in Congress said there could be no support for this move if the White House doesn't have a clear strategy.
"We will need to have all resources available but especially the most powerful voice in the land, and that is our President Biden to weigh in on this," Rep. Judy Chu said.
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