The US state of Texas introduced the country’s most restrictive abortion law, which bans the procedure from as early as six weeks. Doctors and women’s rights groups have strongly condemned the law, which took effect after the Supreme Court failed to block it.
President Joe Biden has said the Texas ban violates the rights established under the 1973 case Roe v. Wade. But what does a case from 1973 have to do with abortion in the US now?
The Roe v. Wade case was a landmark ruling which legalised abortion across the country. It came about because the law in Texas prohibited abortion except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger – this law was challenged by a 25-year-old woman, under the pseudonym “Jane Roe”, and lead to the ruling that governments didn’t have the power to stop abortions. It gave American women the constitutional right to the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy, or 12 weeks.
Now there are concerns the ban in Texas undermines this, and the US Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit challenging the new law.
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