When is “it” a Human?

The US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today challenging Texas’ recently enacted fetal heartbeat bill. The justices expedited the hearing, considered one of the most high-profile abortion rights cases in recent memory, at a pace not seen since Bush v. Gore in 2000.    The law, enacted two months ago, bans abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, generally around six weeks after conception (see overview). Exceptions are made for serious health complications to the mother. The law relies on a unique enforcement mechanism—private citizens may sue anyone believed to have aided an abortion, including providers, regardless of personal relationship. The court previously declined a request to block the law while appeals were heard, and will hear a challenge to a 15-week Mississippi ban Dec. 1. 

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