A group of abortion rights advocates and providers filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court on Monday asking the justices to block implementation of a new Texas law that bans procedures as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block enforcement of the law before it takes effect Wednesday.
The measure was signed into law in May and forbids abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, making it the largest state to outlaw interventions at the point many women don't know they are pregnant.
The law prohibits state officials from enforcing the ban, and instead, allows individuals to sue an abortion provider or anyone who may have helped someone get an abortion after the limit and seek financial damages of at least $10,000 per defendant.
In Monday’s filing, the group said if the law is allowed to go into effect, it would “immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85 percent of Texas abortion patients.”
The filing added that patients “who can scrape together resources will be forced to attempt to leave the state to obtain an abortion.” However, the "remaining Texans who need an abortion will be forced to remain pregnant against their will or to attempt to end their pregnancies without medical supervision.”
"In less than two days, Texas politicians will have effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. We have filed an emergency motion in the Supreme Court to block this law before clinics are forced to turn patients away,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America added in a statement, “the harm this law will cause will be insurmountable for far too many Texans, particularly Black, Latino, Indigenous people, those with low incomes, and Texans in rural areas who already face significant barriers to care.”
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, praised the measure at the bill signing, saying the law “ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.”
The case comes as the justices are scheduled to consider the legality of Mississippi's ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.