After the Supreme Court failed to act on a request to block the legislation, a Texas law that prohibits most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect on Wednesday, NPR reports.
As the law is written, it allows citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who seeks to help a woman obtain an abortion, including those who give a woman transportation to a clinic or give financial assistance for an abortion. Any resident who files a lawsuit doesn’t need to provide any proof that they are connected to those they are suing. Additionally, the law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.
Under this law, if anyone wins a lawsuit against an abortion provider they could be awarded at least $10,000.
The new legislation bans abortion as soon as cardiac activity is detectable, approximately around six weeks. Most women don’t know that they are pregnant during the six-week window that the law gives.
John Seago with the Texas Right to Life claims that the lawsuits don’t target women but the providers and clinics that profit from abortions.
"These lawsuits are not against the women," Seago said. "The lawsuits would be against the individuals making money off of the abortion, the abortion industry itself. So this is not spy on your neighbor and see if they're having an abortion."
Dr. Bhavik Kumar, a family medicine doctor who works for Planned Parenthood in Houston, says the law has left many patients and providers in a state of confusion.
"I know that there are many people who don't have to ability to make it out of state ... The logistics ability to do so is not an option for them," he said. "So I'm really concerned about what's going to happen to people."
Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri took to Twitter to share how the law will impact the most vulnerable citizens of Texas.
“I’m thinking about the Black, brown, low-income, queer, and young folks in Texas. The folks this abortion health care ban will disproportionately harm,” her tweet read. “Wealthy white folks will have the means to access abortion care. Our communities won’t.”
President Joe Biden has promised that his administration will continue to work to defend abortion rights, Politico reported.
“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.
“My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right,” he continued.