A Texas law banning most abortions in the state took effect at midnight, but the Supreme Court has yet to act on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold. If allowed to remain in force, the law would be the most dramatic restriction on abortion rights in the United States since the high court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion across the country in 1973, the AP reports. The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks and before most women even know they’re pregnant. While other states have tried to institute similar bans, no other 6-week ban has ever been allowed to go into effect in the US, CNN reports.
Abortion providers who are asking the Supreme Court to step in said the law would rule out 85% of abortions in Texas and force many clinics to close. Planned Parenthood is among the abortion providers that have stopped scheduling abortions beyond six weeks from conception. "From Whole Woman’s Health CEO @AmyHM: We have staff and doctors providing abortions in Texas - still at this hour - and they are all in to provide care until 11:59 tonight," an abortion provider in the state tweeted Tuesday night. "Our waiting rooms are filled with patients and their loved ones. Right now. The anti-abortion protestors are outside, shining lights on the parking light. We are under surveillance. This is what abortion care looks like. Human right warriors." (More on why this ban is difficult to challenge in court here.)