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Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill that bans abortions as early as six weeks and before many people know they are pregnant, the Texas Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Senate Bill 8 lets almost anyone — including people with no connection to the person getting the abortion — sue abortion providers who look to perform the procedure after the time limit.

  • The bill bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks, and it does not provide an exception for rape or incest.
  • When asked about the lack of exceptions for rape and incest, Texas state Sen. Bryan Hughes, the bill's sponsor in the Senate, told CNN: "Let's do everything we can to hold people accountable who do something like that, to protect women from that. ... Let's harshly punish the rapist, but we don't, we don't punish the unborn child."

The big picture: Other states have passed so-called "heartbeat" bills, but they have been mostly blocked by federal courts, per the Texas Tribune.

What he's saying: "Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion," Abbott said.

  • "In Texas, we work to save those lives. And that's exactly what the Texas legislature did this session."

Worth noting: The move comes days after the Supreme Court announced it would hear a challenge on a Mississippi law that looks to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case could potentially challenge Roe v. Wade and ban abortions altogether.

What to watch: The law will take effect starting September, per the Tribune.

Go deeper

May 18, 2021 - Health

Texas governor bans mask mandates for public schools, local governments

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Tuesday prohibiting government entities in the state, including public schools, from requiring masks.

The big picture: About 30% of Texans have been fully vaccinated against COVID, but the vast majority of children are unvaccinated, the Texas Tribune reports.

May 18, 2021 - Podcasts

State powers over abortion access

The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to take up a Mississippi case that could have huge repercussions for abortion access in the U.S. It will give the conservative-majority court the chance to weigh next term whether states should have the right to ban abortions before a fetus is viable outside the womb.

  • Plus, McDonald’s isn’t the only company hiking wages to get workers back.
  • And, how the pandemic has changed our fashion choices.
Updated 20 mins ago - Science

NTSB probes deadly Alabama crash as storms lash Southeast and Midwest

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's sent a team to Alabama to help investigate a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash that killed 10 people, including nine children.

The big picture: Saturday's crash, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes" in the Southeast over the weekend, per AP. Parts of the Midwest, including Indiana and Chicago, where a tornado struck late Sunday.