This week, Texas adopted an unprecedented new law that would ban the vast majority of abortions perfomed in the state. The “heartbeat bill” mimics similar, unsuccessful attempts by other states to prohibit abortions after cardiac activity can be detected — typically about six weeks into gestation, before most women are aware of the pregnancy. What makes the Texas law unique is that the state itself will not directly enforce it, instead allowing private citizens to bring lawsuits against those they accuse of aiding and abetting illegal procedures. Lawrence O. Gostin, University Professor at Georgetown University and director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, explains how the new bill works and why he believes the Supreme Court must reverse course and overturn the law.
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