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Texas Bans Abortions If A Heartbeat Is Detected & That Can Be As Early As 6 weeks

The nation's most far-reaching restriction on abortion since the government legalized it half a century ago took effect on Wednesday In Texas, with the Supreme Court's failure to give an emergency appeal to block the legislation.


If allowed to stand, the legislation, which prohibits most abortions, would be the most restrictive against abortion rights in the United States since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.


The Texas legislation, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, bans abortions after medical experts discover heart activity, which typically occurs about six weeks into pregnancy and before the majority of women are aware of their pregnancy.


It is part of a more extensive Republican campaign throughout the nation to impose stricter abortion restrictions. At least 12 more states have passed restrictions on abortion early in pregnancy, but all have been prevented from taking effect.


What distinguishes the Texas legislation is its unique enforcement strategy. Instead of having authorities enforce the law, private people are allowed to sue abortion providers and anybody else engaged in the facilitation of abortions. This includes, but is not limited to, anybody who transports a lady to a clinic for an abortion. Anyone who successfully sues another individual is entitled to at least $10,000 under the law.


"Starting today, every unborn child with a heartbeat will be protected from the ravages of abortion," Abbott said in a statement posted on Twitter. "Texas will always defend the right to life."


The legislation "not only prohibits nearly all abortions in the state but also interferes with the patient-physician relationship and imposes bounties on doctors and other health care professionals for merely providing treatment," according to a statement from AMA President Dr. Gerald E. Harmon.


Marc Hearron, a lawyer with the Center for Reproductive Rights, told reporters that his group's abortion providers were still waiting for a Supreme Court ruling but that "for the time being, most abortion remains prohibited in Texas."


Facilities have said that the legislation would prohibit 85 percent of abortions in Texas and compel many clinics' closure. Planned Parenthood is one of many abortion clinics that has ceased scheduling abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy.


Additionally, abortion opponents who drafted the law made it tough to challenge in court because it is difficult to determine who to sue.


Abortion rights activists argue that it will compel many women to go out of state for abortions, assuming they can afford it and manage other problems like childcare and time off work. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that advocates for abortion rights, if legal abortion treatment is discontinued in Texas, Texans' average one-way travel distance to an abortion facility would rise from 12 to 248 miles.


Abortion facilities located beyond the Texas border are already experiencing the effect. According to Rebecca Tong, co-executive director of the clinic, over the last two days, the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City had booked 80 appointments, more than twice the usual number of patients. Another significant rise was that two-thirds of those patients were from Texas. The earliest opening was now three weeks away.


"Oklahoma barely has enough clinics to accommodate the population here," Tong said. "If anybody is thinking, 'Oh, they can simply travel out of state,' a lot of facilities in the Midwest and South do not provide abortion treatment five days a week."


According to Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Women's Health, which operates four abortion clinics in the state, Clinics in Texas were packed late into the night Tuesday before the ban took effect.


Miller claimed that the latest abortion at one of her clinics concluded at 11:56 p.m. in Fort Worth. Twenty-seven women remained in the waiting area at one clinic until 10 p.m. Miller says the unserviced women left in tears as physicians rushed to see everyone in time. Anti-abortion protestors outside shined bright lights in the parking lot after dark, searching for signs of crime and twice calling the cops.



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