Senate Bill 8 out of Texas was outrageously unconstitutional and outrageously dangerous. This is a six week abortion ban, known in politics as a “fetal heartbeat ban” even though there is no fetus yet and there is no heart. This ban will stop almost all abortions before women even know they are pregnant, months before viability. But the worst part of this ban is that it puts all powers of enforcement into the hands of private citizens, could be anybody, and offers them financial incentive to interfere with pregnant women, and anyone involved in the abortion – medical staff, family who helps pay or drives women, could be even Uber drivers. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent,
“The Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.”
Looking at the ban itself—6 weeks of gestation is about 4 weeks after fertilization. There is no fetus at this point, it’s an embryo. The embryo is the size of a lentil! This ban would prevent 85%-90% of Texas women who want to have an abortion from doing so. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. There are no exceptions for children.
A six week abortion ban was filed in North Carolina in March, 2021, House Bill 31. Interesting for lawmakers to propose a 6 week abortion ban when NC’s 20 week abortion ban was struck down as unconstitutional in 2019. However, North Carolina’s bill is nothing like this Texas one.
The Supreme Court let this act become law by refusing to do their duty to stop it. It is unconstitutional on many levels—none of which were even reviewed by courts.
At a minimum, SCOTUS should have stayed implementation of the Act to allow lower courts to evaluate these issues. As Attorney General Merrick Garland said in press conference about suing over this law,
“Because this statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services. This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it.”
This dangerous and unconstitutional law cannot stand. Women all over the country are rising up against this travesty that introduces vigilante monitoring of women’s medical procedures and jailing of doctors. At least Garland and the Department of Justice are suing Texas to stop it. Meanwhile, women are organizing protests in North Carolina and around the country on October 2. Some protests have al-ready taken place. Read about NC’s protests at https://wp.me/p22b2e-3tO. Raleigh may have three!
“Sotomayor pens scathing dissent of Texas abortion ban: “Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand”,” 9/2/21, CBS News, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-abortion-law-supreme-court-sotomayor-dissent/
SB 8 bill from Texas – https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/SB00008F.HTM