United States: Abortions beyond six weeks again prohibited in Texas

the essential Texas has just reinstated an ultra-restrictive law which prohibits abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, ie around six weeks of pregnancy.

Cancel appointments, redirect patients to other states … Clinics offering abortions in Texas were on Saturday in a race against time after the reinstatement of a law that makes the majority of voluntary terminations of pregnancy. again illegal in this US state.

No exception in case of rape or incest


A Federal Court of Appeal has allowed this great conservative state to reinstate an ultra-restrictive law that prohibits abortion once the The embryo’s heartbeats are detected, around six weeks of pregnancy, when most women are still unaware of being pregnant. The law does not provide an exception for rape or incest.

The family planning organization Planned Parenthood immediately announced that ‘she again suspended abortions at more than six weeks, denouncing a court ruling that “once again ignores half a century of precedent protecting the constitutional right to abortion”.


Opponents of abortion applauded the decision. “Our prayer has been answered,” said Kimberlyn Schwartz of Texas Right to Life group in a statement. The law called “Texas Heartbeat Act” and came into force on September 1 had been temporarily blocked Wednesday by a federal judge in Texas following a complaint from the government of Joe Biden. Abortions beyond six weeks then resumed in some clinics in the State, the second most populous in the country (29 million inhabitants).


But Texas Attorney General Republican Ken Paxton appealed to a federal court, known to be one of the most conservative in the country, who proved her right and banned these voluntary terminations again.

“Every abortion we performed in Texas during the suspension has was a victory, ”said the organization Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas.


“Our hotlines remain open. If you are a teenage girl in Texas seeking an abortion and you do not know what to do , contact us “, proposed for its part the NGO Jane’s Due Process on Twitter on Saturday.

In all likelihood, the US federal government will contest the decision of the Court of Appeal. He has until Tuesday afternoon to react. This law should quickly return to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States.


A “right turn”


The latter guaranteed in 1973, in its emblematic Roe v. Wade, the right of women to have an abortion, and then clarified that it applied as long as the fetus is not viable, that is to say around 15 weeks of pregnancy. In recent years, laws comparable to that of Texas have been passed by a dozen other conservative states and struck down in court for violating this jurisprudence.


“The Supreme Court must intervene and stop this madness”, reacted in a statement Nancy Northup, president of the association Center for reproductive rights , which defends the right to abortion.


But in September, for the first time in almost half a century, the Supreme Court refused to block the entry into force of Texas law which similarly contravenes Roe v. Wade. The high court justified its inaction by “new questions of procedure”, the law of Texas comprising a single device: it entrusts “exclusively” to the citizens the care of enforcing the measure by inciting them to lodge a complaint against the organizations or the people who help women to have illegal abortions.

The Supreme Court’s position in this case was seen as a “right turn” of the high court which has six conservative judges out of nine, including three appointed by Donald Trump.


The Supreme Court is also due to review this fall a Mississippi law that prohibits post-abortion 15 weeks of pregnancy, and could take the opportunity to write down in black and white a reversal of its jurisprudence.

If the Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, every state would be free to ban or allow abortions. Approximately 36 million women in 26 states, or nearly half of American women of childbearing age, would lose probably the right to abort, according to a Planned Parenthood report published in early October.

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