CHICAGO - Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on Wednesday denounced a new law that just took effect in Texas, banning abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy.
In a major victory for pro-life supporters, the US Supreme Court did not block the new rules.
Abortion rights activists say the new law violates the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
A west suburban lawyer who has long worked to reduce abortion in Illinois and across the country is delighted that the Supreme Court has not, at least so far, blocked the Texas law.
"The number of abortions in Texas is going to go way down," said Peter Breen, lawyer for Thomas More Society. "As a person who's pro-life, I’m glad to see it. You know, the word abortion isn't in the United States Constitution. So, if the people of Texas want to protect children after a heartbeat, why shouldn't they be able to? That's why we have 50 states. Look, in our state of Illinois, we have leaders who've said they want to protect abortion up to nine months."
Indeed, Gov. JB Pritzker wrote in a statement that he's proud Illinois has, "the most comprehensive law in the nation to protect women’s rights to make their own health care decisions no matter what happens at the Supreme Court."
Many other Illinois Democrats made similar comments.
The innovation in the new Texas law is that it empowers private citizens to sue abortion clinics or anyone else who assists a woman in ending a pregnancy. If the lawsuit were successful, defendants would have to pay $10,000 to each person who sued them.
"I can't predict what the federal courts will do with this. But that is the most outrageous extension I’ve ever heard of standing in court," Senator Durbin said.
Court orders blocking previous anti-abortion laws have told state officials not to enforce them. The innovation in the Texas law is that state officials will not enforce it, but private citizens will by filing civil lawsuits and collecting their $10,000 per case.