The bill also allows people who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” breach the law to be criminally charged, according to The Dallas Morning News. The penalty for such an action would be a state jail felony, which comes with fines of up to $10,000 and between 180 days and two years in prison.
Abbott’s signing of S.B. 4 comes less than a month after another controversial abortion bill — referred to by some as the “fetal heartbeat bill” — took effect in the state.
Only seven countries out of the 59 that allow abortion “without restriction as to reason” permit elective abortions after 20 weeks: Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The scientific consensus is that fetuses can first feel pain at the beginning of the third trimester (approximately 27 weeks gestational age).
A broad majority of voters consider the seven-week cutoff highly problematic even in Republican-leaning Texas. The most recent survey from the Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows a majority disapprove of Gov. Abbott’s job performance. Before the pandemic, Abbott had an approval rating close to 60%.