AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The GOP-dominated Texas state House grave preliminary approval to a measure that would ban abortions after as early six weeks — which is before many women know they are pregnant — and allow private citizens to enforce the rule through civil lawsuits. The move Wednesday would have Texas join about a dozen other Republican-led states to pass so-called “heartbeat bills” which have been mostly blocked by federal courts. Critics say the Texas bill would let abortion opponents use lawsuits to harass doctors, patients, nurses, domestic violence counselors or even friends and family of a woman who got an abortion.

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