The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Texas to let private citizens sue to enforce its ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, possibly creating a new example for other conservative states to mandate strict restrictions on the abortion procedure.

The decision came as justices agreed to examine Mississippi’s prohibition on the procedure after 15 weeks, which could overturn Roe v. Wade, an iconic decision in 1973 that legalized abortion across the United States. 

“This is a de facto overturning of Roe before the Supreme Court has time to hear the Mississippi case,” said Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson. “And Texas will now go back to being a pre-Roe state, turning the clock back 50 years.”

Anti-abortion groups have been gaining influence in Texas, which eventually succeeded in enacting the nation’s most restrictive abortion law.

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Following the controversial decision, President Joe Biden released a statement on Wednesday criticizing the Texas law that went into effect banning abortions at six weeks.

“Today, Texas law SB8 went into effect. This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” Biden said in a statement. “The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes.”

“Outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual,” Biden added.

Many other Democrats are also furious about Wednesday’s decision. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) started a fund to combat the ruling and to protect Texas women.

“Now is not the time to feel hopeless or helpless. Now is the time to act. All across Texas, grassroots organizers have been protecting their neighbors and the right to choose. They need us. We made a split page for 8 key orgs here – 100% goes to them,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

The contentious bill was signed back in May by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

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