Texas Governor Greg Abbott just signed a bill into law that would ban abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy.

According to a report from the Texas Tribune, on Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 8, AKA the Heartbeat bill, into law. The bill prohibits abortions in Texas after 6 weeks of pregnancy and encourages private citizens to file lawsuits against those who are involved in any form with an abortion that violates the new law.

The new law prohibits and criminalizes abortion after 6 weeks unless the mother’s
life is in danger. Under this new law, cases of rape and incest are not exceptions.

The tricky legislation will not be enforced by officials as proposed in the past, but instead gives the power to the people. In essence, it encourages private citizens to prosecute those who violate the new law by filing lawsuits against anyone involved in the abortion process after 6 weeks.

To be clear, those involved would range from friends who drove the woman to the abortion clinic, doctors performing or assisting in the abortion, to even a person who assisted monetarily for the procedure.

With state officials removed from the enforcement equation, supporters of the law hope it can avoid lengthy legal challenges, particularly from organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Here's why some are opposed to the new law:

Women do not have a psychic ability to know the moment they conceive. 6 weeks is an absurd limitation on time, due to the fact that a majority of women may not know that they are pregnant. Every woman's menstrual cycle is different than the next woman's. Unless you're using an early detection test, women would not know if they were pregnant until their missed period, which would come 28 days later, 4 weeks. But again, not every woman's menstrual cycle is 28 days because that's just an average. Many women's menstrual cycle is up to 38 days or longer if they are irregular. That means by the time this woman's period is late, she will have no option but to keep the baby, or face numerous lawsuits against people she may not even know.

There’s also the question of whether a victim of sexual assault or incest should be legally obligated to carry a resulting pregnancy to term. Should a woman living through the trauma of having been violated also face a potentially ruinous lawsuit on top of the horrendous crime already committed against her?

These along with questions of autonomy and the legality of the legislation itself will undoubtedly be the subject of fierce debate in the courts.

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