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Texas Abortion Law Also Bans Pregnancy-Ending Drugs After 7 Weeks

By the end of the year, Texas may have even more restrictions on the ability to get an abortion after its Republican governor, Greg Abbott, quietly signed into law new restrictions banning the mail-order provision of abortion medication seven weeks into pregnancy. The law prevents providers from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs more than seven weeks into pregnancy, instead of ten weeks, the current limit. It takes effect on December 2nd.

The sweep of anti-abortion measures will probably prove popular among Abbott’s Republican base, but may not gain wider approval within Texas. About a third of Texans want to see abortion ended entirely, except when pregnancy threatens the life of the pregnant person. But about half of Texans want abortion to remain legal according to recent polling. In the meantime, women’s rights and health organizations are working to provide better access to contraception in the wake of Texas’s severe restrictions.

[Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images]
Abbott signed the law with no meaningful fanfare on Friday and news about the event only broke later, triggering outrage from reproductive rights advocates who warned the move was another devastating blow to pregnant people in the state. Even before the legislation, known as Senate Bill 4 (SB4), was signed, Texas had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country amid requirements for a 24-hour waiting period, ultrasound imaging, admitting privileges for doctors, parental consent for minors.

Another controversial bill, Senate Bill 8 (SB8), was passed by the Texas legislature in May that sought to stop abortions in the state beyond six weeks, often before many people know they are pregnant. Those who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” violate the law by providing medication through the mail will now face criminal penalties – as much as $10,000 in fines and two years in prison – including providers from out of state. That law effectively rendered abortion in the state almost impossible and triggered widespread condemnation when the supreme court refused an emergency request to block the law.

The Supreme Court did not block SB8 from going into effect in Texas, but said in its decision the challengers raised “serious questions” about the constitutionality of the law. A physician who challenged the law, Alan Braid, is now being sued for providing an abortion after six weeks in Texas.



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