A group of abortion providers and advocates, which include Planned Parenthood, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily block the enforcement of a Texas law that would ban most abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy.
Opponents say the law, which is set to take effect Wednesday, would essentially overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that enshrined the right of women to choose to have an abortion.
S.B. 8 was signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. It prohibits doctors from performing or inducing abortions if they have “detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child,” except in medical emergencies.
The law does not let state officials enforce those rules but rather empowers any individual to file civil lawsuits against anyone who provides abortions or “aids or abets” them after the detection of a heartbeat. Those lawsuits can yield at least $10,000 in “statutory damages” per abortion.