Texas Governor Greg Abbott has quietly signed a new bill further restricting abortion in the state.
According to The Independent, the Republican governor had signed Senate Bill 4 on Friday in what women’s rights groups would have called a “back-door ban on abortion.” It was signed without fanfare that even news sources did not notice that SB 4 has become a law until this week. He held no signing ceremony, issued no press release, and posted no announcement on Twitter that he’d signed the bill, completely avoiding the backlash that Senate Bill 8 experienced.
The SB 8 has been prompting protests from different medical practitioners and pro-choice groups. The United States Supreme Court declined to block that law, triggering a wave of outrage and even a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department.
The new law was signed to support the controversial six-week abortion ban that Abbott signed in May. With the new SB 4, the state of Texas is now prohibiting doctors from providing abortion-inducing medication to women who are seven or more weeks pregnant.
The bill, according to state records, made it past Texas’ state legislature in August and is perhaps one of the most controversial policies in Texas that were included in Abbott’s special session agenda. It was one of the three items relating to abortion policy in Texas that the governor pushed for to fulfill his promise to “protect unborn children and promotes a culture of life in Texas” which he made during his 2017 State of the State address.
He also reportedly asked to extend a task force dedicated to studying maternal mortality in Texas. According to spokesman John Wittman, Abbott’s policies are “committed to reducing the maternal mortality rate.”
The approval of the legislation of the new Senate Bill 4 is the latest in a series of actions that the state government took to restrict abortion in Texas.