Masses of people gathered to protest in front of Governor Greg Abbott’s mansion in Austin because he signed Senate Bill 8 on the 19th of May, this year. Nearly all members of the Republican party signed the Bill as well. However, over three hundred Texas lawyers opposed it. He signed the bill just after the court decided to hear a case from Mississippi, that bans most abortion after 15 weeks.
Senate Bill 8 has been in the making for some time and is now rapidly going ahead, which stirred up a lot of people causing them to take sides.
“We have the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Abbot claims, also referring to abortion as a ravage.
‘Our bodies, our choice,’ stamped on endless protest signs, and promises that this ban would not go unchallenged.
1992, the US Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, prevented states from banning abortions before viability, which is when the fetus can survive outside of the womb (around 24 weeks of pregnancy). For years the Court had been chipping away at the ban. Until now. Senate Bill 8.
As of September 1st, 2021 midnight the law was passed. It is now illegal for anyone to get an abortion if cardiac activity in the fetus is detected 24 hours before the abortion. Meaning when an ultrasound can detect, what lawmakers define as, a ‘heartbeat’ the abortion can’t go through. A heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks pregnant. According to physicians the heart in the fetus isn’t even fully formed at six weeks. Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, stated that “when you factor in the time it takes to confirm a pregnancy, consider your options and make a decision, schedule an appointment and comply with all the restriction Politicians have already put in place for patients and providers, a six-week ban essentially bans abortions outright.” The Bill also applies in cases of rape or incest. The only exemption is a medical emergency.
Many states have tried to ban abortions as well but failed. The Texas abortion law has succussed because it doesn’t follow proper judicial procedure. Instead of having the government and court enforce the law, the people, private citizens of Texas, do. People of Texas are now encouraged to sue others involved in illegal abortions. Family members, friends, neighbors, and medical professionals are possibly open to lawsuits, because of the broad wording of the Bill. People sued are awarded at least 10, 000 US dollars, as well as costs for attorney’s fees, if they win.
The Bill doesn’t allow rapists to sue, however, abortion rights advocates state that the wording of the Bill doesn’t offer enough protection, as most sexual assaults aren’t reported and don’t result in a conviction.
More than 56, 000 abortions were performed on people of Texas in 2019, most in the first trimester. Before the law took place, there were twenty-four clinics in Texas, but now they are struggling to stay open. While clinics in other states are struggling to keep up with the demand.
There are four Whole Women’s Health clinics in Texas. 90% of women wanting an abortion there, were over six weeks pregnant and seventeen physicians refused to perform the abortions in case of legal jeopardy before the law had passed. The fortnight after the law passed, patients decreased by 80%, and clinics struggled to remain open.
Even though the new law is considered to be one of the strictest, most extreme laws nationwide, abortion rights advocate still protest with persistence and determination, promising to keep challenging it no matter what.
About the Author
Lillian Woodward is a 14-year-old Australian girl, who loves to write. She advocates for gender equality, social justice and climate change.