Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law that sets boundaries for the use of abortion-inducing drugs in the Lone Star State.
KHOU-TV reports Senate Bill 4 prohibits a person "from providing an abortion‑inducing drug to a pregnant woman without satisfying the applicable informed consent requirements for abortions." It also requires doctors to comply with reporting requirements.
Any physician or health care practitioner or facility that defies the new law could be charged with a criminal offense and sentenced to time in jail.
"It's a good policy in that it helps protect women and highlights some of the dangers of abortion," said Rebecca Parma, senior legislative associate for Texas Right to Life earlier this month.
Caroline Duble, political director of Avow Texas, responded, "This is just another attempt to cruelly push abortion care out of reach for everyone in Texas."
Pro-life advocates told KHOU the new law will do two things. First, it preemptively bans any doctor's ability to mail abortion pills to patients. Second, it will cut back the time in which a pregnant woman can get abortion pills. The current time is 10 weeks into her pregnancy, but this law will cut that back to seven weeks.
The pro-choice crowd argues that's not fair because it comes before most women even know they are pregnant.
"Whatever we can do to protect women on this issue, that's what's been made a priority, and that's what you see in SB4," Jonathan Saenz, president, and attorney for Texas Values told the station.
Meanwhile, the abortion industry in Texas says they've seen a sharp drop in patients in the two weeks since the state's fetal heartbeat law took effect.
In new court filings in Texas, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers describe clinics that have turned away more than 100 women under the new law.
As CBN News reported, the Texas Fetal Heartbeat Law went into effect on Sept. 1 after the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to approve an emergency petition by abortion advocates to stop the measure. The law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect the unique heartbeat of the unborn person, which is usually around six weeks.
The Biden administration is seeking an emergency order to temporarily block enforcement of the law in Texas. A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department in a federal court in the state, asks a federal judge to declare that the law is invalid.
Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University Law School, thinks the law could be eventually struck down in court since it prohibits abortion long before the fetus is viable outside the womb.
"It's very likely it will be found unconstitutional. The framers, the drafters themselves understood that ... they have set a line well below existing case law for banning abortions," he said. "Courts are likely to make fast work of the Texas law."
But Turley argues a larger threat to abortion is an upcoming case on the Supreme Court docket for December in which Mississippi is asking to be allowed to enforce an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
By taking up that single question, the justices will be considering whether states can impose limitations on abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb. There are no other questions at play, no other ways the case could be more narrowly decided. If the high court sides with Mississippi, that would open the door to other states passing similar laws.
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