Other six-week bans have been tested in the courts, but experts describe the Texas law as “unique” because it’s enforced by private citizens instead of public authorities. Under the new statute, private residents are incentivized to sue anyone who provides or aids and abets in an abortion, with the possibility of receiving at least $10,000 if their lawsuit is successful.

That level of civil enforcement “has never been tried to this extent before,” said Joe Pojman, the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.

“I think the nation may well be looking to see whether this method of enforcement will survive federal and state court challenges,” he said. “This may be a dress rehearsal for the time in a matter of months that the Supreme Court does allow states to fully protect unborn babies from abortion.”

By: Janelle Bludau

But by essentially banning abortion in Texas, pro-life advocates are calling Wednesday a win and want women to know there are other options than abortion.

“We really want women to consider looking into the numerous alternatives to abortion that are available,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. “There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations, many of them funded by the state of Texas, who have been gearing up to increase the availability of their services, for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy.”

By: Zoe Tillman, Paul McLeod

Joe Pojman, executive director of the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, said his organization is monitoring for signs of illegal abortions, including watching the Facebook pages of licensed abortion facilities in the state. But Pojman said they are not currently planning to launch any litigation and are waiting for the courts to weigh in.

“Civil enforcement has never, to this extent, been tried before,” he said. “This is new legal ground. We’re waiting to see how the federal courts will handle it.”

By: Erica Proffer

“I was at the event where the governor made that statement and I knew he had to be talking about the entire world, where there are many millions of unintended pregnancies and many millions of abortions that occur,” Pojman said.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates 73 million abortions take place each year.

Northern Africa and Western Asia have the highest abortion rate, the data shows.

“Much of the U.S. follows what Texas does in terms of our lawmaking … We believe that many nations follow what the U.S. does. So, really, it is very relevant to talk about worldwide statistics,” Pojman said.

By: Christine Hauser

Ms. Smith’s speech also drew strong reactions from opponents of abortion who support the law.

“How sad Paxton has bought the lie that women have to eradicate unplanned pregnancies to achieve dreams & goals,” Amy O’Donnell, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alliance for Life, said on Twitter. “Women can give life to their babies AND do great things.”

The law, which goes into effect on Sept. 1, bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. The legislation, also known as the “heartbeat law,” is among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country.