State officials in Texas used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to suspend many abortion procedures for a period of time, but the pandemic is subsiding and a total ban on abortion is their true goal.
To that end, the state legislature has passed and Governor Greg Abbott has signed a near total ban on abortion beginning at six weeks.
The law puts Texas in line with more than a dozen other states that ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, possibly as early as six weeks. It would take effect in September, but federal courts have mostly blocked states from enforcing similar measures. [...]
Texas’ version is unique in that it prohibits state officials from enforcing the ban. Instead, it allows anyone — even someone outside Texas — to sue an abortion provider or anyone else who may have helped someone get an abortion after the limit, and seek financial damages of up to $10,000 per defendant.
Critics say that provision would allow abortion opponents to flood the courts with lawsuits to harass doctors, patients, nurses, domestic violence counselors, a friend who drove a woman to a clinic, or even a parent who paid for a procedure.
As most of you probably know, many if not most people don't even know they're pregnant yet after just six weeks. That's what makes this a near total ban.
As of right now, access to abortion is still constitutional and the first federal court that looks at the Texas law is going to place it on hold, but it remains to seen how long that will last.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a direct challenge to Roe V Wade that could enable states like Texas to impose these de facto bans on abortion. The Supreme Court will hear the case in the fall of this year and a decision will drop around this time next year.
As was also the case with the anti-transgender bathroom bill just signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Republicans are trying to thread a legal needle by turning average people into enforcers instead of placing state authorities in charge of enforcement.