Lifestyle Health Highly Restrictive Texas Law Now Bans Abortions Before Many Women Know They're Pregnant The highly restrictive law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and awards $10,000 to private citizens who prove that an abortion provider has violated the law By Julie Mazziotta Julie Mazziotta Twitter Julie Mazziotta is the Sports Editor at PEOPLE, covering everything from the NFL to tennis to Simone Biles and Tom Brady. She was previously an Associate Editor for the Health vertical for six years, and prior to joining PEOPLE worked at Health Magazine. When not covering professional athletes, Julie spends her time as a (very) amateur athlete, training for marathons, long bike trips and hikes. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 1, 2021 11:23 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Protestors outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA A ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — before most women know that they're pregnant — is now law in Texas after an attempt to stop the legislation from taking effect failed. The highly restrictive law, which essentially eliminates the rights of Roe v. Wade, passed through the Texas legislature in May and took effect Tuesday after midnight after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to act on an emergency request to stop the ban. The Supreme Court can still follow through on the request and halt the ban, but beginning Wednesday abortion providers in Texas, such as Planned Parenthood, said they will no longer perform abortions after six weeks from a person's last period. Naval Officer Says She Made the Compassionate Choice: 'Abortion Meant Our Child Didn't Have to Suffer' Under the law, private citizens can also sue abortion providers whom they suspect illegally performed an abortion after six weeks or anyone who aided in an abortion, including driving someone to a clinic or helping them with the cost. If the lawsuit is successful, they will be awarded a minimum of $10,000. For more on Texas' abortion ban and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. The law, called Senate Bill 8, "would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85 percent of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close," abortion providers said in the emergency request to the Supreme Court. RELATED VIDEO: 'I Pray for All ... Who Will Suffer': Many Stars Are Outraged at Sweeping Alabama Abortion Ban There are no exceptions in the law for pregnancies that are the result of incest or rape. "Patients will have to travel out of state — in the middle of a pandemic — to receive constitutionally guaranteed health care. And many will not have the means to do so," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. "It's cruel, unconscionable, and unlawful." 27 Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Abortion Stories to Help Women Feel Less Alone Texas' law is one of several attempts by Republican-led states to limit the right to abortion guaranteed by the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case. Often called a "heartbeat ban," the law is based on when the fetal heartbeat can first be detected, the earliest being six weeks into pregnancy. Anti-abortion groups have been vocal about enacting these near-bans to set up a legal battle in the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade, which the Supreme Court is expected to take up during its next term, which begins in October.