The silence of the US Supreme Court allowed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country to come into effect. From the first minute of this Wednesday, termination of pregnancy is prohibited in the State of Texas from the sixth week of pregnancy. The controversial state initiative 8, approved in May by the Republican majority in local councils, limits the role of authorities in monitoring the norm, which, on the other hand, allows “anyone” to prosecute women, doctors or anyone who helps terminate a pregnancy. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday morning that this new rule is “an obvious violation” of the Constitution and that his Administration will fight to defend the landmark decision in the Roe v. Wade case, which since 1973 has given women the right to decide. their bodies.
“The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to health care, especially in communities of color and poor,” the Democratic president said in a statement. The White House criticizes the law’s spirit of persecution, which is feared. it will provoke a wave of denunciations in a very conservative state. “Atrociously, it delegates to citizens the responsibility to denounce those who believe they have helped another person to have an abortion, which may include relatives, health professionals, secretaries or clinic staff, or strangers unrelated to the individual,” the text states.
Texas Right to Life, the southern state’s largest anti-rights organization, celebrated the passage of the rule and launched a website that allows anyone to anonymously name who they believe was related to an abortion. The site was brought down a few days ago by a hacker attack, but was recovered by the association, which received a restraining order from the Dallas Public Prosecutor’s Office due to the backlog of complaints it was filing in defense of life.
Those responsible for birth control clinics in Texas estimate that the new norm affects 85% of abortions performed in the state and that many women still do not know they are pregnant after six weeks of pregnancy. Another of the controversial points of the law, the most severe in an avalanche of life protection initiatives that began to be enacted nearly a decade ago, is that it uses the term “fetal heartbeat”. “A doctor cannot induce an abortion in a pregnant woman if he has detected the fetal heartbeat of a minor,” says the law. Several experts argued in the legislative debate that embryos do not develop the four chambers of the heart until after the ninth week. This is the first state law to protect life from a heartbeat.
Planned Parenthood, the largest reproductive rights organization in the United States, said the legal battle over the law, which it called “ridiculous,” was not over. Alexis McGill, the organization’s national director, said its statewide clinics remain open to “help Texans navigate this dangerous law.” That was not the reality of many other clinics, which in recent days have seen dozens of patients fearful that the law will go into effect. The director of another center, Whole Woman’s Health, said that on Wednesday many women who wanted to terminate their pregnancies began sending home because of fear the new regulations aroused. Some staff at the clinic were hesitant to continue working at the facility now that they are exposed to civil lawsuits.
Around midnight, the Supreme Court refused to rule on the law. It was a new gesture by the conservative majority of the Court, which in recent weeks dealt severe blows to the progressive laws defended by the Democratic Administration. Among those decisions was the rebirth of a Donald Trump-era program that forces asylum-seeking migrants to wait for their process in Mexico and re-allow evictions in communities affected by the pandemic. Judges can still accept emergency requests from human rights groups. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the PP and the Center for Reproductive Rights have waged a legal fight to overturn the law. It will be a long battle against a majority that, at least today, seems consolidated.
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