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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday that the Justice Department will protect people trying to obtain or provide abortions in Texas, in the wake of the state’s new restrictive abortion law. Senate Bill 8 — often called the “heartbeat bill” by supporters — effectively bans abortions after six weeks, well before many people even know they are pregnant. Physicians who specialize in reproductive health say the term “fetal heartbeat” used in the legislation is misleading because there is no cardiovascular system or a functional heart six weeks into pregnancy.

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