The US Supreme Court voted - 5-4 -not to block the Texas law that bans most abortions. The law gives any individual the right to sue doctors who perform an abortion past the six-week point. Proposed by a Right wing group, the law is seen as a major curb to the constitutional right to an abortion in decades
The law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks — before some women know they’re pregnant. Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas’ law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement up to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.
Prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Texas, the Roe v Wade, 1973, blocked laws that banned abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that he was directing federal agencies and the White House gender policy council to respond to this decision and ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions.
The law includes a narrow exemption for medical emergencies but there is not an exemption for rape or incest.
A full-term pregnancy is 39 weeks. Before the decision in Texas, Roe v Wade stopped laws that banned abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb, generally regarded as 24 weeks.
Texas abortion providers and reproductive rights groups said 85% to 90% of the procedures happen there after the sixth week of pregnancy, as per the Guardian.
Coming to the question, how can one get an abortion done in Texas and legally. Well, after two weeks you cannot. Private citizens, including people who from outside Texas, can sue anyone they think may have 'aided or abetted' someone getting an abortion after six weeks. They get $10,000 and their legal fees covered.
Abortions in Texas or other Red states has always been difficult. As per media reports, people travel outside the state to get the procedure done.
Researchers at the University of Texas said the law would particularly affect Black patients and people living on low incomes.
The new Texas law could affect thousands of women seeking abortions, though precise estimates are difficult. In 2020, Texas facilities performed about 54,000 abortions on residents. More than 45,000 of those occurred at eight weeks of pregnancy or less. Some of those abortions still could have been legal under the new law, if they occurred before cardiac activity was detected.
A case is still proceeding in the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, though the timing of future action is unclear.
With inputs from the Associated Press