I N THE HALF-CENTURY since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v Wade , lawmakers in conservative states have passed hundreds of laws designed to make it harder for women to have abortions. None has been as punitive as the one recently passed in Texas. From September, unless it is blocked, the law will authorise private citizens to sue anyone who "aids or abets" the abortion of a fetus with a heartbeat, that is, from some six weeks' gestation. For every case that is successful, it authorises "damages"—in effect a bounty—of $10,000. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS Android . The law could ensnare innumerable people, from employees of insurance companies to pregnancy counsellors and friends and relatives. A lawsuit that seeks to block the law, filed in a federal district court in Austin on July 13th by clinic operators and groups that help poor women pay for terminations, also includes pastors who worry that counselling a pregnant woman who then goes on to have an abortion could put them in legal jeopardy. Early-abortion bans are straightforwardly unlawful. Roe and subsequent Supreme Court rulings say abortion on demand (that is, for any reason) should be accessible until a baby… Read full this story
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