The U.S. Supreme Court did not stand in the way of legislation signed by Texas governor Greg Abbott in May, which prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks. The restrictive Texas abortion law went into effect Wednesday, Sept. 1.
“Starting today, every unborn child with a heartbeat will be protected from the ravages of abortion,” Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Texas will always defend the right to life.”
Democrats, for the most part, including President Joe Biden, strongly oppose the Texas law.
Biden said the law “blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century.” He said the law “outrageously” gives private citizens the power “to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion.”
Connecticut Democrats also have decried the new Texas law.
“What’s going on in Texas? First you make it tougher for people to vote, and now you’re taking away a women’s right to choose? That’s been settled law for 50 years,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a video statement. “We’re not going to let that happen in Connecticut. … As long as I’m here, it’s going to stay in statute.”
In response to comments such as that coming from Democratic office holders in Connecticut, several members of the Connecticut House Republican Women’s Caucus released the following statement:
“Despite competing claims in panicked media statements and fundraising emails issued yesterday, the right to access an abortion in Connecticut is in no way impacted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding a new Texas law. In fact, while abortion providers were protected in Connecticut law years ago, many of the same prominent Democrats decrying this decision as an assault on medical freedom and patient privacy have been at the forefront of eroding those same protections for parents and children alike, while unfairly targeting pregnancy service providers who offer adoption services or other alternatives to an abortion.
“Whether in their relentless push to eliminate the religious exemption for vaccines and effectively deny thousands of children a free and public education in Connecticut schools, or to supplant parental choice with government mandates in any other sensitive medical decisions, they have had no problem with denying individual rights when it suits their agenda. These same elected officials should be asked if ‘my body, my choice’ applies equally to the many residents of this state who will be denied the right to work or gain an education this year because of their doing.”
The above statement was signed by Deputy House Republican Leaders Rosa Rebimbas (R-70th) and Lezlye Zupkus (R-89th), and state representatives Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80th), Robin Green (R-55th), Cindy Harrison (R-69th), Kimberly Fiorello (R-149th), Irene Haines (R-34th), Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77th), Donna Veach (R-30th), Terrie Wood (R-141st), Nicole Klarides-Ditria (R-105th) and Anne Dauphinais (R-44th).
A report by the Associated Press says at least 12 other states have enacted abortion bans early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect. “What makes the Texas law different is its unusual enforcement scheme,” the AP report states. “Rather than have officials responsible for enforcing the law, private citizens are authorized to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in facilitating abortions. Among other situations, that would include anyone who drives a woman to a clinic to get an abortion. Under the law, anyone who successfully sues another person would be entitled to at least $10,000.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that the Justice Department was “deeply concerned” about the Texas law and “evaluating all options to protect the constitutional rights of women, including access to an abortion.”