Updated: Dec 15, 2022
By McKenzie Ward
On May 19th, 2021, the Texas Legislature passed Texas Senate Bill 8, the most restrictive and
unconstitutional law regarding abortion in the country.
On Sept. 1, it went into effect – infringing on the rights of every woman living in Texas.
Senate Bill 8 prohibits an abortion occurring as soon as any cardiac activity is detectable, according to NPR. This includes pregnancies that are products of incest or rape.
Usually, cardiac activity is detectable at around six weeks – which is when many women find out that they are pregnant or notice they have missed a period.
Therefore, the bill is a complete ban on abortions in Texas.
Arguably, Texas has taken overturning Roe v. Wade into their own hands.
The bill also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who may provide someone support in seeking an abortion, including assisting someone financially or providing transportation to their appointment, according to NPR. Those who win these lawsuits could be awarded up to $10,000 under this law, which encourages bounty hunting.
According to The Los Angeles Times, because this law relies on private civil lawsuits, any person who is facing the lawsuit cannot bring the state or any state officials to court to strike down the lawsuit because technically, it is not the Texas government enforcing the law.
Instead, it’s our neighbors.
Our family members.
Essentially, it is anyone who is greedy enough and believes that a woman’s right to her body and reproductive system is not as important as their own personal beliefs, political agenda, or gaining $10,000.
What those who support such restrictive and unconstitutional abortion bans fail to realize is that by passing these laws, they are not truly banning abortions.
Instead, they are just banning safe abortions.
Women will be forced to swallow gunpowder, throw themselves down a flight of stairs, beat their stomachs with a meat tenderizer, and attempt the infamous hanger method to end pregnancy.
All of these unsafe abortion methods were used prior to Roe v. Wade and we will see them be used again if Congress does not act swiftly to overturn this law.
During the 1950s and 60s, just years prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, the estimated number of illegal abortions in the United States ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million each year, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The Institute also reported that in 1965, illegal abortions accounted for 17% of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth.
By making it illegal for women to safely terminate pregnancies, the Texas government is only risking the unnecessary deaths of women.
More women will die at the hands of those who call themselves “pro-life.”
How can someone call themselves pro-life when because of this law, women will be forced to risk their lives in order to terminate a pregnancy?
When will those who are “pro-life” for fetuses be pro-life for the sake of girls and women?
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court set the precedent that the United States’ Constitution protects a women’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
However, it seems as if Texas has decided to disrespect the Supreme Court and go against the precedent that our country’s highest court set 48 years ago.
Congress needs to intervene and pass federal reproductive laws that will protect the rights of every woman in the United States.
Women should not have to wake up every morning in fear of their rights being stripped by the