Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country. The new law would prohibit abortion for terms as early as six weeks in the state! This is noteworthy because few women even know they are pregnant that early on.

In an address broadcast on social media as he signed the bill into law, Abbott said, “Our creator endowed us with the Right to Life and yet millions of children lose their Right to Life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives.”

The law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected or as Abbott says, ensures “that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.”

Though anti-abortion laws are typically associated with a conservative agenda and backed by Republicans, this bill had bipartisan support. But what is shocking is that the law does not provide any relief to women in case of rape or incest.

The move drew sharp criticism from human rights groups. ACLU Texas started an online campaign against the newly signed law and said, “Abortion is essential, time-sensitive health care. When someone decides to seek an abortion, they should receive affordable, accessible, and compassionate care.”

Planned Parenthood too started an online petition addressed to Governor Abbot saying, “This is not leadership. Texans from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose extreme abortion bans. In fact, the majority of Texans support access to safe, legal abortion.” They further asked Abbott to focus on priorities like controlling the spread of COVID-19 instead of targeting critical healthcare for women, and asserted, “Our movement is stronger than your political attacks on our health and rights.”

While, the law will take effect in September, the timing of the bill was interesting given how it came just after the US Supreme Court said that it would hear a case concerning a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.

*Feature Image: Representational image of Stop Abortions Ban Rally held in ST. Paul Missouri in 2019. Image by Lorie Shaull via Wikimedia Commons.