Local pro-choice activists have chosen to sue the state of Texas with the hope of ending the six-week ban on terminations.
In May 2021, Texas governor Greg Abbott (R) signed legislation that would ban abortions in Texas for any woman who is more than six weeks pregnant. The law, also described as a "heartbeat ban" due to the six-weeks mark being the point that a fetus develops a heartbeat, is considered by many critics to be one of the more extreme restrictions in the law so far. Many critics are concerned about the law due to how many mothers don't find out they're pregnant until well after the six-week mark.
Texas is not the first state to pass a heartbeat ban. At least eleven other states have passed similar bans since 2018. However, Texas is the largest state to do so, and the bill is also heavily affiliated with Abbott, who has had a fairly controversial run as governor to date. That's made it a prime target for a lawsuit designed to challenge the law's status. Both abortion rights advocates and abortion providers have teamed up to file a federal lawsuit against Texas with the hope of stopping the bill from passing.
The lawsuit argues that the nature of Texas' law will create unnecessary risk and threaten the livelihoods of abortion providers. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights told the Washington Post that “The state has put a bounty on the head of any person or entity who so much as gives a patient money for an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before most people know they are pregnant." Northup is referring to specific language in the law which allows for third parties to use court business to target and interfere with a family member's attempted abortion. The bill relies primarily on private lawsuits enforcing the six-week-ban, rather than government entities.
If successful, the lawsuit could stop local judges and court clerks from receiving any potential lawsuits based on this specific bill.