(Washington) Most abortions became illegal Wednesday in the large and very conservative state of Texas, where a law went into effect overnight encouraging people to report violations.
Posted on Sep 1, 2021 at 10:12 am
Charlotte PLANTIVE Agence France-Presse
It can still be blocked by the United States Supreme Court, which was urgently seized Monday by defenders of the right to abortion.
But contrary to its custom, the High Court, where the Conservative judges have a solid majority, did not rule until midnight on the day the text went into effect.
The law, signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, about six weeks after the last period, when most women don’t even know they are pregnant.
According to family planning organizations that have begun referring their patients to neighboring states in the past few days, more than 85% of all abortions performed in Texas to date have occurred after that tenure.
The law, which is part of an offensive by conservative states against the right to abortion, makes no exception for rape or incest, but only when the health of the pregnant woman is at risk.
Now, “Millions of people have had access to almost all abortions. The effects are immediate and devastating, ”replied the powerful human rights organization ACLU.
The court’s inaction “is a disaster for women in Texas,” added House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, while denouncing “a radical law” on Twitter.
Off Texas, twelve states, including Louisiana, passed laws that forbid abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat can be felt. These laws have all been overturned in court for violating the case law of the Supreme Court, which recognizes the right to have an abortion as long as the fetus is not viable, i.e. between 22 and 24 weeks of gestation.
But Texas has phrased its law differently: it is not up to the authorities to enforce the measure, but “exclusively” to citizens who are encouraged to bring civil lawsuits against organizations or individuals who assist women with abortions.
The text stipulates that citizens who initiate a trial will receive at least $ 10,000 “compensation” if convicted and have the affected clinics closed. Critics of the text see this as a “bonus” for the prosecution, but its defense lawyers have already set up forms on the Internet to deposit “anonymous information”.
For procedural reasons, this device makes it difficult for the federal courts to intervene, which have so far refused to take action against the law.
Critics of the text therefore had to go directly to the Supreme Court either to banned it or to force the courts to do so.
The fact that the High Court did not act in time “does not mean the end of Roe v. Wade, ”underlines law professor Steve Vladeck, referring to the emblematic judgment of the Court of Justice of 1973, which recognized the right of women to have an abortion. She can still block Texan law, maybe as early as Wednesday, he said.
The fact that she let the law come into force is “a gloomy omen of what awaits us in this or that matter in the future,” added the scientist on Twitter.
Former President Donald Trump was able to radically reshape the Supreme Court and install three out of nine judges chosen for their conservative services.
Their arrival has sparked anti-abortion opponents who, in their imaginations, vie to allow the Supreme Court to reverse its case law.
And she’s already sent them positive signals: She has agreed to review a Mississippi bill this fall that will allow most abortions after age 15.