The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to stop a new Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy from coming into force. According to the lawsuit, the law violates constitutional rights and also violates the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, in which it was held that abortion cannot be prohibited before viability (i.e. before the foetus can survive outside the uterus).
The lawsuit also states that the Act prohibits doctors from conducting an abortion if the heartbeat of the foetus is detected, without providing any exceptions even for rape cases. It points out that this will prohibit almost all persons from getting an abortion, as the heartbeat is usually detected within six weeks and most people are unaware of their pregnancy during this period.
Moreover, the Act allows any person from the common public to sue persons who “aid or abet” the performance of an abortion. The lawsuit states:
S.B 8 does not permit suits against abortion patients. But it provides a ready tool for abusive and manipulative partners or family members to try to block a patient’s abortion decision. Under S.B 8, if such individuals know about a patient’s plan to obtain an abortion, they could sue the patient’s abortion provider, or anyone else who “intends” to assist with that abortion, to try to prevent the patient from accessing care.
The lawsuit further adds that the Act would cause physical and emotional pain to abortion patients and would also cause financial burden upon abortion providers, who would have to face harassment through multiple lawsuits and monetary penalties under the Act.