New England's mostly-Democratic legislative delegation reacted Wednesday to the news that a Texas law banning most abortions in the state had taken effect after the Supreme Court failed to act on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold.
"Let's be clear about what just happened in Texas," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. "The second-largest state in America has effectively banned abortions. We can't rely on the courts to protect our rights. It's time for national laws to ensure reproductive freedom."
"Safe and legal abortion is a constitutionally protected right. Texas's hostile new abortion law is a gross violation of that right and must be fought with every fiber of our being," Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey said on Twitter. "We must stand with those in Texas who will be hurt every day that this law remains on the books."
If allowed to remain in force, the new law would be the most dramatic restriction on abortion rights in the United States since the high court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion across the country in 1973.
The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks and before most women even know they’re pregnant.
Vermont Rep. Peter Welch called the law "an unprecedented blow to reproductive rights in America. Now more than ever, we must do everything we can to protect the right to safe and accessible reproductive care for everyone."
"The Texas abortion ban is dangerous," New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan said. "Roe v. Wade made clear that women have the constitutional right to make their own health care decisions. This is an attack on reproductive rights and an attack on women's health and economic freedom."
"I miss Ruth Bader Ginsburg," added Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark. "Let's be clear: Abortion is health care. The Texas abortion ban is an unconstitutional attack on our rights and will undeniably hurt Black, Latino and low income Texan women most. But we won't back down."
"By its inaction, the Supreme Court ended abortion access in TX last night," Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. "Roe v. Wade was effectively overruled, not with a bang, but with a whimper, through the shadow docket. This is why we need to urgently pass the Women's Health Protection Act -- it can't wait any longer."
Massachusetts Congresswoman Lori Trahan called the Texas abortion ban "the greatest threat to women's reproductive rights in decades" and said the Supreme Court's inaction to protect its own precedent in Roe v. Wade "is shameful."
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the new abortion law "is a dangerous attack on medical providers, vulnerable patients, and basic health care... We will fight this latest effort to overturn Roe v. Wade and stand up for freedom, privacy and basic rights."
Abortion providers who are asking the Supreme Court to step in said the law would rule out 85% of abortions in Texas and force many clinics to close. Planned Parenthood is among the abortion providers that have stopped scheduling abortions beyond six weeks from conception.
At least 12 other states have enacted bans on abortion early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.