ST. LOUIS – The abortion debate intensified this week after the US Supreme Court declined to halt a controversial Texas abortion law allowing it to temporarily go into effect while the court decides on its constitutionality.
The heartbeat abortion law bans most abortions after about six weeks.
Republicans are pleased similar laws are planned for states like Missouri. Pro-choice Democrats are furious and are reiterating calls to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices. FOX 2’s legal analyst attorney Chet Pleban explained how the ruling affects the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade. Pleban said since that ruling women have had constitutionally protected rights to be free from excessive government interference during their pregnancy.
Pleban said Texas avoided this by making it legal for a citizen to file a lawsuit against anyone who is involved in an abortion taking place. This could be an Uber driver or a doctor. In addition to banning abortions once a heartbeat is detected, if the person who files the lawsuit wins, they can collect $10,000 from the defendant and get their attorney’s fees paid for. If the defendant wins, they don’t get their attorney’s fees or anything.
States can continue to pass similar laws until the Supreme Court makes a decision on if it is constitutional.
Abortion rights organizations say the new Texas law is oppressive and that most women don’t know they’re pregnant before six weeks. Opponents such as Christian Lobue with NARAL Pro-Choice America believe the law encourages a vigilante system “by awarding $10,000 to anyone who successfully sues another person for providing or assisting someone who gets an abortion after six weeks.”