DALLAS — Dressing like handmaidens from the book and show "The Handmaid's Tale," more than a dozen women from the ACLU of Texas' "Bans Off Our Bodies” protest wanted their voices heard in front of Dallas City Hall after new restrictions on abortions took effect in Texas Wednesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 8, the so-called "heartbeat bill," into law back in May. It went into effect at midnight Sept. 1. The law bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, even though medical experts say many women don’t know they’re pregnant within the first six weeks and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has previously called heartbeat laws "misleading" because they say embryos have not yet formed hearts at six weeks.
Now, private citizens can now sue an abortion doctor, or anyone who helps a woman through the abortion process — even an Uber driver who takes her to the clinic.
Also under this new Texas law, there is no exception for rape, although there is an exemption for “medical emergencies.”
Pro-choice advocates call it one of the most restrictive laws in the state.
"If any of you have watched 'The Handmaid's Tale,' or read the book, that's where we are living today," a protestor named Lauren said. "We don’t have safe, affordable, accessible, abortion rights."
Another woman, Maegan Gross, said she's pro-choice. She drove in from Frisco with her son to share her story.
"When I was 20 years old, I had an abortion. I was grateful I had that opportunity to choose."
Ten years later, she now has a baby boy.
"When I was 20, I didn’t have the support of my family. I didn’t have the support of my partner," Gross said. "I think [this law] is horrendous. Shame on our government."
Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz says the point of the law is to protect the unborn child.
"We know that from science that life begins at conception. The moment of fertilization, you have your own unique DNA. The baby has a heartbeat as early as six weeks, you can hear [it] on the ultrasound. I think anybody who has experienced that can attest to how beautiful the miracle of life is."
Later, President Joe Biden weighed in and said “this extreme texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade."