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Protesters of the abortion ban march in Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A law that bans abortions after six weeks, including in cases of rape and incest, went into effect in Texas on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The law, one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., prohibits the practice after a fetal heartbeat is detected — before many people know they are pregnant.

  • It also incentivizes individuals to sue anyone suspected of helping a woman obtain an abortion — and awards at least $10,000 to people who do so successfully.

Driving the news: The American Civil Liberties Union and several abortion rights groups this week asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block the ban. But the court did not act by the 1am ET deadline for the law to take effect.

  • Individuals representing those defending the law on Tuesday filed a brief urging the court to not intervene.
  • "A decision allowing the Texas law to take effect could signal that the high court is poised to topple precedents that now protect abortion rights until much later in pregnancy," Bloomberg notes.

Of note: The Texas Legislature on Monday tentatively approved Senate Bill 4, which would limit patients who are more than seven weeks pregnant from accessing abortion pills, per the Texas Tribune.

  • Pills are currently allowed to be given to patients up to 10 weeks pregnant.
  • The bill also bans abortion-inducing pills from being mailed in Texas.

🎧 Listen: One reverend’s fight against a Texas abortion ban.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to state the American Civil Liberties Union, not the American Civil Rights Union, asked the Supreme Court to block the order.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Dec 3, 2021 - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

Advocates see "opportunity" in abortion fight to galvanize Democratic voters

Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson speaks during an abortion rights rally in October. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March

Abortion rights advocates believe the Supreme Court fight over Mississippi's strict abortion bill has the potential to turn the political script: galvanize Democratic voters, instead of its historic ability to drive turnout among Republicans.

What they're saying: "The opportunity is that people are enraged," Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, told Axios in an interview. "What we saw in Texas, and what people will walk away from [the Mississippi oral arguments with], is a level of rage that we could be living in a world six months from now — where our children have fewer rights than we have right now."

What the Supreme Court ruling on abortion could mean for Minnesota

Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Abortion will remain legal in Minnesota if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or significantly curtails Roe v. Wade, though such a ruling could eventually impact access in the state.

Driving the news: The nation's high court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a case involving a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Mississippi's attorney general has asked justices to overturn the 1973 ruling, which set a precedent for the constitutional right to abortion, and subsequent decisions.

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