Mixed reactions from Central California on Texas' new abortion law

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Texas took a novel approach in crafting the nation's most restrictive abortion law.

State agencies won't enforce it. Instead, private citizens who successfully file civil lawsuits against abortion providers could earn $10,000.

The new law could offer a legal template for other states to copy.

It's illegal for most women to get an abortion once the fetus has a heartbeat -- usually around six weeks.

RELATED: Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion law on technical grounds

The head of Planned Parenthood Mira Monte was disappointed to see the Texas abortion law take effect and the US Supreme Court's vote to uphold the ban.

Stacy Cross said, "By making abortion illegal, it doesn't make it go away. It just makes it unsafe and potentially lethal for those people that are seeking abortions."

But those opposed to abortions celebrated the passage of the law in Texas.

John Gerardi is Executive Director of Right to Life of Central California, which provides healthcare resources for women.

Gerardi said, "I think what Texas did was reasonable. I think what they did was fair and I think it was a vindication of the rights of these unborn children who are human beings like you and me."

But Cross said, "It essentially creates bounty hunters."

Cross added people in Texas can now target women seeking abortions.

She continued, "And anyone who actually helps that patient. A provider, somebody at the front desk, an abortion fund, a Lyft driver that takes someone to a health center."

Both agreed women of color faced a bigger impact because of limited access to healthcare.

Gerardi explained, "What those communities of color need is not more abortion. What they need is prenatal health care. What they need is support to allow women to have the ability to make the choice for life."

Cross said last year, 7,000 women came from out of state to California to get abortions.

"We have been seeing women from Texas because there's so many hurdles already," she said.

Gerardi said, "For the first time in America since 1973, we have a state that is protecting under law the right to life of unborn children."

President Biden indicated he would direct his legal team to tap federal agencies to ensure women maintain their constitutional right to an abortion.
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