Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Six Week Abortion Ban into Law

Wednesday, May 19

By Lauren Martin

On May 19th, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed one of the country's most restrictive abortion laws, which will ban the procedure at six weeks of pregnancy or two weeks after a missed menstrual cycle- before most women become aware of their pregnancy. The bill has no exceptions for rape or incest but does allow private citizens to sue abortion providers they suspect of violating this ban for up to $10,000. Texas has previously instated harsh restrictions on abortion access, such as prohibiting most insurance plans to cover abortions and requiring women to have two clinic visits. The bill will become enforceable starting in September of 2021; until then, abortions in Texas can take place until up to 20 weeks. 

 "Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion," Abbott said in a bill signing ceremony "worked together on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that I'm about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.

Reproductive rights advocates say that the extreme bill is unconstitutional and violates Roe Vs. Wade, which blocks states from placing bans before fetal viability- which is typically present around 24 weeks into a pregnancy. 

The bill comes within a wave of abortion restrictions in many states as G.O.P's efforts to have these laws taken to the supreme court to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This supreme court case ruled women have the right to an abortion without excessive government intervention. These efforts have increased in momentum since Justice Amy Coney Barret replaced Justice Ruth Bater Ginsberg on the supreme court, rendering the court to a conservative majority. In September, the court is due to evaluate Missispis's 15-week abortion ban. Reproductive rights advocates worry that the ruling will result in harsher restrictions or outright bans of the procedure in many states. 

" The fact that the justices decided to take the case indicates a willingness of at least five of them to revisit existing precedent," Said said University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, who has published many writings about the Supreme court's abortion ruling to The Wall Street Journal regarding the Mississippi ruling, "The only reason to hear the case would be to do that."

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