President Joe Biden criticized Texas’ new law that bans abortions after as early as six weeks. On Wednesday (Sept. 1), the president released a statement condemning the new measure, which went into effect earlier that day.
“Today, Texas law SB8 went into effect,” Biden said. “This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century. The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes.”
He continued, “And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual.”
The law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott back in May, went into effect on Wednesday after a federal appeals court and the Supreme Court did not rule on attempts to block it. Texas now prohibits doctors from conducting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is discovered, which usually happens around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Anyone who helps a woman access an abortion after six weeks can be sued by private citizens for $10,000 or more in damages.
On Tuesday (Aug. 31), Alexis McGill Johnson, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the law “unconstitutional” and said millions of women in Texas will be affected by the new law.
“Without relief, starting tomorrow, seven million Texas women of reproductive age will lose access to abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, forcing those seeking to end their pregnancy to travel hundreds of miles out of state for their abortion, if they can afford to do so,” she said. “This unconstitutional law is a full-scale assault on patients, their health care providers and their support systems.”
Biden said his administration is “deeply committed” to protecting women’s constitutional rights established under Roe v. Wade, but did not reveal how they will assist those in Texas.