Abortions beyond six weeks again banned in Texas

This is a new chapter in the legal battle between the Biden government and the Republican states, and for abortion rights more broadly. Temporarily blocked Wednesday by a federal judge after a complaint from the government, the law “Texas Heartbeat Act” was finally promulgated. Texas Attorney General, Republican Ken Paxton, appealed to a federal court, known as one of the most conservative in the country, which ruled in his favor.

This law prohibits an abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, around six weeks of pregnancy, when most women are still unaware that they are pregnant. The law does not provide for an exception in cases of rape or incest. “Our prayer has been answered,” Kimberlyn Schwartz of Texas Right to Life group said in a statement.

The pro-choice activists, however, still want to hope. “Every abortion we performed in Texas during the suspension was a victory,” said Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas. “Our hotlines remain open. If you are a teenager in Texas looking for an abortion and you do not know what to do, contact us, ”the NGO Jane’s Due Process proposed on Twitter on Saturday.

Family planning organization Planned Parenthood immediately announced that it was once again suspending abortions over six weeks, denouncing a court ruling that “again ignores half a century of precedent protecting the constitutional right to abortion. “. The Supreme Court has in fact guaranteed since 1973, in its emblematic Roe v. Wade, the right of women to abort, and then specified that it applied as long as the fetus is not viable, that is to say around 22 weeks of pregnancy.

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Towards the invalidation of Roe v. Wade?

If the government challenges the decision of the Court of Appeal, it would be up to the Supreme Court to decide. In recent years, laws comparable to that of Texas have been passed by a dozen other conservative states and struck down in court for violating this jurisprudence. But since Donald Trump’s tenure, the Supreme Court has a conservative majority. It had in fact initially allowed the promulgation of Texan law, on the pretext of a “new question of procedure”, namely the fact that Texas law entrusts “exclusively” to citizens the responsibility of enforcing the measure.

The Supreme Court is also due to examine this fall a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and could take the opportunity to write in black and white a reversal of its jurisprudence. If the Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, every state would be free to ban or allow abortions. About 36 million women in 26 states, or nearly half of American women of reproductive age, would likely lose the right to abort, according to a Planned Parenthood report released in early October.

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