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Abortion providers ask Supreme Court to block six-week abortion ban in Texas

Washington – A group of pro-abortion advocates and providers on Monday asked the Supreme Court to block controversial Texas law ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The law, which is due to go into effect on Wednesday, is said to be one of the most restrictive in the country and would ban nearly all abortions in the state if allowed to go ahead, rights groups have warned. ‘abortion.

In addition to banning abortion as early as six weeks pregnant, the measure also allows individuals to bring civil lawsuits against anyone who performs an abortion after six weeks or helps a woman access such procedures, such as a friend who drives. a woman getting an abortion or clinic staff. Those who break Texas law are required to pay at least $ 10,000 to the person who successfully sued.

If it were to go into effect, the ban “would immediately and catastrophically reduce access to abortion in Texas,” pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Supreme Court. the ACLU, Search. They estimate that at least 85% of women who have abortions in Texas are at least six weeks pregnant and have warned that the coming into force of the law would force many clinics to close.

“Patients who can muster the resources will be forced to attempt to leave the state to obtain an abortion, and many will be delayed until later in the pregnancy,” wrote the lawyers representing the abortion providers. “The remaining Texans who require an abortion will be forced to stay pregnant against their will or attempt to terminate their pregnancy without medical supervision.”

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, enacted the measure in May, with Texas joining a dozen other states that have passed laws banning early stage abortions. Known as “heartbeat bills,” they seek to ban procedures after a fetal heartbeat is first detected.

But abortion advocates argue the measures, which have been blocked by federal courts, are unconstitutional and violate Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to have an abortion. The court concluded that a woman can terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability, which usually occurs around 24 weeks.

Abortion rights groups argue that Texas law differs from others because it encourages members of the public, rather than state officials, to enforce the ban, and they say lawmakers the state designed the measure this way to isolate it from federal judicial review.

“Texans, like everyone in this country, should be able to count on safe abortion care in their own state,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates abortion clinics. , in a press release. “No one should be forced to drive hundreds of miles or pursue a pregnancy against their will, yet that is what will happen unless the Supreme Court steps in.”

The groups’ request to act the Supreme Court in the dispute comes after a Texas federal appeals court delayed a district court hearing scheduled for Monday and rejected their offer to expedite the case or prevent the law from coming into force pending the appeal.

Should the ban become enforceable on Wednesday, pro-abortion groups warn that absent Supreme Court intervention, Texas will be allowed to ban abortions after six weeks before considering a legal battle over a Mississippi abortion law this autumn.

The Supreme Court said in May it would address a wide-ranging dispute over Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, presenting the first test of the limits of abortion access to the broad Conservative majority. from the courtyard.

In this case, Republican-led states, including Texas, are asking the court to overturn Roe and uphold Mississippi’s 15-week ban.