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A new law banning abortion after six weeks goes into effect in Texas today, September 1.
The law has sparked controversy across the state as it prohibits abortion once a baby’s heartbeat is detected.
It also fails to acknowledge pregnancies caused by cases of incest or rape as a reason for wanting an abortion. There is an exemption for ‘medical emergencies’, however.
The law won’t be enforced by state officials, but it allows people to sue an abortion provider or anyone who may have helped someone get an abortion after the limit. The claimant can sue for up to $10,000.
According to NBC News, a large majority of abortions in Texas take place at least six weeks into pregnancy, meaning the harsh new legislation will ban almost all abortions. The symptoms of pregnancy only become ‘very noticeable’ at two months along, according to Planned Parenthood.
Alexis McGill Johnson, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has expressed concerns about the ban.
Without relief, 7 million Texas women of reproductive age will lose access to abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, forcing those seeking to end their pregnancy to travel hundreds of miles out of state for their abortion, if they can afford to do so.
‘This unconstitutional law is a full-scale assault on patients, their health care providers and their support systems,’ McGill added.
McGill isn’t alone in disagreeing with the abortion ban; several Texan abortion providers sought out emergency requests in a bid to prevent the law from coming into effect today.
The Supreme Court and a federal appeals court failed to rule on the requests, however, meaning the ban came into force as planned.
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