The Texas governor signed a bill on Wednesday banning six-week abortion – before many women even knew they were pregnant.
“This bill ensures that the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
The Texas bill, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, is the latest volley from a conservative U.S. state against abortion.
At least 10 other Republican-led states have passed similar legislation banning abortions once the fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually around week six of pregnancy.
All the bills have been overturned by the courts because they violate the Supreme Court ruling allowing abortion until the fetus is viable yet, which occurs between 22 and 24 weeks.
The signing of the Texas bill comes just days after the nation’s highest court agreed to hear a case that could challenge the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion.
The case concerns a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy except in a medical emergency or serious fetal abnormality.
It will be the first abortion case to be examined by the Supreme Court since former President Donald Trump cemented a conservative majority in the nine-member panel.
Abortion divides the American population, with strong opposition especially among evangelical Christians.
Texas law also allows a private citizen to sue abortion providers or anyone helping someone to have an abortion.
“With its private cause of action provision, this bill is one of the most extreme in the country and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Access to abortion has never been so threatened. ”
© 2021 AFP