Texas Abortion Law: Biden Vows To Defend Women’s Constitutional Rights

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image captionPro-life demonstrations have been taking place in Texas

US President Joe Biden has condemned a new law in Texas banning abortion from as early as six weeks and vowed to defend women’s constitutional rights.

The “extreme” law “blatantly” violated rights and would “significantly impair” women’s access to healthcare, he said.

The Supreme Court has refused to block the new law in Texas.

The law bans abortions after detection of what anti-abortion campaigners call a foetal heartbeat – a point when many women do not know they are pregnant.

The so-called Heartbeat Act also gives any individual the right to sue doctors who perform an abortion past the six-week point.

Doctors and women’s rights groups have heavily criticised the law, which is one of the most restrictive in the country, and took effect after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court failed to respond to an emergency appeal by abortion providers.

The Democratic president, in his statement, said his administration would “protect and defend” the constitutional rights established under Roe v Wade and “upheld as a precedent for nearly half a century”.

He was referring to the 1973 case in which the Supreme Court ruled US women have the right to an abortion until a foetus is viable – that is, able to survive outside the womb. This is usually between 22 and 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the president had long wanted to see the “codification” of Roe v Wade – which would mean Congress voting to make the precedent federal law – “and [the Texas law] highlights even further the need to move forward on that effort”.

Other Democrats also expressed their outrage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Supreme Court had “delivered catastrophe to women in Texas” while New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was a “direct assault on the rights of women” across the country and would need a “national mobilisation” to fight it.

Rights groups, including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who had requested that the Supreme Court block the legislation, say they will not give up the fight.

Feeling targeted

By Angélica Casas, BBC News, San Antonio, Texas

Dr Ghazaleh Moayedi, who carries out abortions in her OB/GYN practice in north Texas, said she feels targeted. In the 15 years that she has worked in abortion care, she has seen greater restrictions in the state, but never anything as aggressive as this law.

“Providing abortion care, and accessing abortion care is actually the very heart of being Texan,” Moayedi told the BBC.

“Texans don’t believe that the government should interfere in our personal lives. We believe that the community takes care of each other. It doesn’t make sense that our legislators here in the state continue to go after folks for their personal lives,

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