Texas Law Effective Today Bans Abortion At 6 Weeks & Offers $10,000 Bounty For Suing Anyone Aiding An Abortion

Photo: VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com
texas state house legislation anti abortion

With the US Supreme Court standing by and failing to take action, a new law has gone into effect in Texas that bans abortions after around 6 weeks — or as soon as cardiac activity is detected.

The law, which was initially passed in the spring, instates an abortion ban at a stage of pregnancy during which many people do not even know their pregnant.

It also creates an avenue for people to take legal action against anyone assisting a woman trying to access an abortion.

What are the details of Texas' abortion law?

The new abortion ban means anyone can police women's bodies and leaves those attempting to access — or aid in accessing — abortion vulnerable to legal disputes.

Texas' abortion ban enables anyone to police abortions.

The new law states that citizens will now be able to sue clinics and individuals who take part in abortions after six weeks, can also claim a $10,000 "reward" — more like a bounty — and will be reimbursed for lawyer and court fees. 

Stephen Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said, “It’s completely inverting the legal system. It says the state is not going to be the one to enforce this law. Your neighbors are.”

RELATED: Could The New Supreme Court Case On Mississippi Abortion Ban Overturn Roe V. Wade?

People don’t even need to be in-state to sue clinics or individuals.

Anyone can sue you, the clinic where you received the procedure, the Uber driver who drove you to the clinic, and whoever else was involved in helping you get the health care you needed.

Since citizens are the ones bringing cases to the courts, judges have the final say in whether or not they want to challenge the oppressive, draconian law.

Many women do not know they are pregnant before six weeks.

According to a joint statement from groups that support abortion rights, about 85 percent of women who obtain abortions in Texas do so after six weeks of pregnancy.

Federal law protects the abortion of pregnancies until a fetus can sustain life outside the womb, which is about 23 or 24 weeks. But this law, which will have the shortest protection period of all abortion lawsuits, changex that.

The law also makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

RELATED: I'm A Pro-Life Mom Of 4 Who Believes All Women Deserve Safe Access To Abortions

The US Supreme Court did not block Texas' abortion ban.

Despite abortion providers in Texas filing an emergency application to urge the Supreme Court to intervene, the justices did not take action.

Texas' law risks upending the Supreme Court's precedent which forbid states from banning abortion before about 22 to 24 weeks — under Roe v. Wade.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

The Texas law made it difficult to take down the law in court. Ordinarily, a lawsuit seeking to block a law would name state officials as defendants.

However, because the law deputizes private individuals while banning state officials from enforcing the ban it is difficult to challenge non-existent defendants.

In the last decade, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of anti-abortion wins among state legislatures, and in the 2021 legislative season, a record was set for the most abortion restrictions signed in a single year in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion statistics and supports abortion rights.

RELATED: Can You Truly Be A Feminist If You're Pro-Life?

Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and relationships.