(Washington, D.C.) — A highly restrictive and blatantly unconstitutional Texas law that bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy went into effect Wednesday after the United States Supreme Court failed to rule on a pending emergency application brought by healthcare providers.
The law is one of the strictest in the nation, banning abortion even before many people know they are pregnant while encouraging and enabling private citizens to bring civil suits against any individual who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the ban. The ban will have a substantial impact on women of color who make up nearly three-fourths of Texas abortion patients.
“Black people and other people of color have long faced systemic and structural barriers in access to healthcare, including reproductive health services. This was true prior to Roe v. Wade and continues to hold true today. Texas’s highly prohibitive ban on the constitutional right to abortion is yet another assault on the bodily and financial autonomy of women of color, who are already bearing the brunt of the current COVID-19 global health crisis.
With the six-week abortion ban going into effect today, abortion access has effectively ended in Texas. Other states are poised to follow suit, passing similarly restrictive abortion laws that disproportionately impact women of color. We will remain vigilant and continue fighting on behalf of our communities to protect their constitutional rights.”
In June of 2021, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Economic Justice Project called on Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, inclusive health care legislation that would prohibit states from enacting medically unnecessary abortion restrictions and bans. The Lawyers’ Committee also authored an amicus brief highlighting the racial impacts of Act 620 in June Medical Services v. Russo, and is preparing to file an amicus brief in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case currently pending before the Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court still has an opportunity to block Texas’ overly restrictive law. While the legal fight continues, the Lawyers’ Committee encourages support for local organizations in Texas working to ensure access to abortion care.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.