Like many abortion activists in Texas, Amanda Beatriz Williams stayed up most of the night Tuesday, awakening to a terrifying silence.
Her organization, the Lilith Fund, helps people in Texas pay for abortions. In a typical shift, they hear between 30 and 50 people. On Wednesday, when a near-complete ban forced clinics across the state to stop most abortions, the fund heard from fewer than 10.
“This is a huge drop in the number of people we normally hear about, and it just tells us these people are out there, pregnant against their will,” Williams said. “It’s absolutely devastating.” As she speaks, Williams bursts into sobs.
The law, Senate Bill 8, prohibits abortions after there is evidence of embryonic heart activity, which usually happens between five and seven weeks after a woman’s last period, before many women know they are pregnant and before an embryo has developed anything that resembles a heart. Experts believe that the ban will force Texan clinics to turn away 80 percent of all patients. It represents every private individual to enforce the law by filing a lawsuit against anyone who “helps and supports” a prohibited abortion. the clinic or a donor writing a check to an abortion fund. Those who complain have an incentive; you can win at least $ 10,000 per abortion, and even if they lose, the person who sued them has to pay their own legal fees. Clinics and grassroots activists like Williams had been hoping for a short-term Supreme Court pardon after the U.S. Fifth District Court of Appeals canceled a lower court hearing to challenge the ban. The Supreme Court did not respond, however, and then turned down an urgency motion to lock the ban late Wednesday night.
“That means that the state of Texas is, at least for now, the first state since. is Roe versus Wade and actually put in place a six-week ban that will go into effect, “said Marc Hearron, senior attorney on the case at the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a press call on Wednesday.
This is what the first few hours of an almost complete abortion ban look like.
Late Tuesday night, in the dwindling hours of legal abortion in the state, the doctor and clinic administrator at Whole Woman’s Health Clinic in Fort Worth burst into tears, their waiting room still full, with 27 patients and their loved ones hoping to get concern, said CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller at the press conference. As darkness fell, anti-abortion protesters shone huge lights in the direction of the clinic. They called the police and fire department to falsely claim that the clinic was against the law because of the many people inside. Even so, Hagstrom Miller said, the clinic could see every patient, the last one at 11:56 a.m. pm.