DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The new Texas law banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy is still standing after the Supreme Court declined to block the measure.
It went into effect on Sept. 1.READ MORE: Fort Worth Residents Concerned About Plans To Replace Nearly 100-Year-Old Forest Park Pool
“This is very exciting for the pro-life movement,” said Ashley Leenerts, a legislative associate for Texas Right to Life.
The anti-abortion group, which advocated for the new law, is celebrating, while advocates say they are struggling to understand why the Supreme Court allowed the restrictions to stand.
“I know our staff are feeling disheartened, overwhelmed, angry, sad,” said Kelly Hart, the senior director of public affairs with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.
The state has become the first in the nation to successfully implement a fetal heartbeat law.
Abortions are now banned after one can be detected, which typically happens around six weeks, before many women even know they’re expecting.
Providers say it impacts at least 85% of the abortions taking place in Texas.READ MORE: Cook Children’s Halts Elective Surgeries Due To Staff, Bed Shortages During COVID-19 Surge
The new law gives private citizens the right to sue a person they believe is providing an abortion or helping a woman get one.
That enforcement measure is what makes this law different from previous attempts.
“We’re the first state to have this become enforceable and the Supreme Court’s ruling is very encouraging that we could be possibly changing where the pro-life movement is going in the future and starting to protect more of our most vulnerable in our nation,” said Leenerts. “…Hopeful other states will be able to use this rubric and create their own heartbeat laws and protect their babies.”
Abortion care advocates say the fight is far from over.
“This is the beginning of a long legal process, and we are committed to seeing it through and doing everything we can,” Hart said. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but we’re going to still be here.”
Right now, abortion clinics in North Texas are open in order to provide other health services for women and abortions when they are legally able to do so, but it’s unclear how long they’ll be able to keep the lights on with the future of abortion in Texas so uncertain.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccines Don't Impact Fertility, But The Virus Does, Doctors Say
When the state tried to enact more restrictions on abortions in 2013, the law was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court, but it shrunk the number of abortion clinics in the state from more than 40 to 19 by 2016.