On Wednesday, a new, highly restrictive abortion law went into effect in Texas with no action from the Supreme Court. The law bans abortions after medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which can be as early as six weeks in some cases before women are aware they are pregnant.
Dan Eaton, a legal analyst in San Diego, said the Supreme Court is likely to address this ban “very, very quickly.”
Is this law the first of its kind in the U.S.?
Eaton noted that the Supreme Court currently has a pending case involving a similar law in Mississippi that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. In regard to Texas, Eaton said he is “not particularly” surprised that the Supreme Court has not stepped in.
“The issue is joined,” said Eaton. “We’ll have more action by the Supreme Court at the end of the year.”
At least 12 states have attempted to ban early abortions, but all have been blocked before going into effect.
How does this fit with abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade in 1973?
Eaton mentioned that what is interesting about the new law in Texas is that it questions the legality of abortion before the point of development where the fetus could survive outside of the pregnancy.
“You’re imposing [on] the right to abortion, which is inconsistent with Roe v. Wade and other cases that followed it,” said Eaton.
He added that the Supreme Court will either need to take action against the ban or overrule Roe v. Wade to allow this law, and others like it, to exist.
Under this law, private individuals are able to take legal action against those who are involved in facilitating abortions. What are your thoughts on this?
“That’s the interesting thing about this law that you have not seen in others like it,” said Eaton.
Eaton explained that this law is unique in that it allows for a “private enforcement mechanism.” Members of the public could seek at least $10,000 after filing a lawsuit related to this law, and winning.
“Could be as little as providing a ride to an abortion clinic,” Eaton concluded.
President Joe Biden tweeted a response to the new law that said, in part, “Texas SB8 will impair women's access to health care and, outrageously, deputizes private citizens to sue.”