A Texas law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected went into effect on Wednesday morning after the Supreme Court and a federal appeals court failed to act on emergency requests to stay the law.
The law was signed by Governor Greg Abbott in May, and has been challenged by various abortion providers. A fetal heartbeat can usually be detected at about the sixth week of pregnancy. Twelve other states have passed fetal heartbeat laws but they have all been struck down by the courts, making Texas the first state to successfully implement the measure, according to the Associated Press.
The Texas legislature “worked together on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that I’m about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” Abbott said before signing the legislation.
Supreme Court precedent prohibits the banning of abortion before the point of fetal viability, which usually occurs around 20 weeks but has been reduced in recent years thanks to medical advances.
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