Americans United criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to block a new Texas law that essentially bans abortions by the sixth week of pregnancy – before most people know they are pregnant.

The law, which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block pending a legal challenge to it, also allows anyone in the country to sue Texas abortion providers or any person who helps someone obtain an abortion after six weeks. That includes anyone who gives a pregnant person a ride to a clinic or helps pay for the procedure. Private citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to the person seeking an abortion. If the lawsuit is successful, the person who brought the suit will be awarded a judgment of $10,000.

“Abortion bans are the result of the crumbling of church-state separation,” said Rachel Laser, Americans United’s president and CEO, in a media statement. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing one set of religious beliefs on others, but Texas’ new draconian law and other attempts by states to ban reproductive freedom do just that. Blocking abortion access is just one item on the Christian nationalist agenda that religious extremists and their lawmaker allies are pushing, to force all of us to live by their beliefs.”

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