Texas’ New Abortion Law and the Backlash it Faces

On the first of September, a new abortion law that will ban all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, or when a heartbeat is found, was put into law.


Becker1999 from Grove City, OH, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Those against the abortion ban have set to the streets in protest. One example of the signs that they hold is above, showing their distaste for the new law.

Greg Abbott, the mayor of Texas, signed the “Heartbeat Bill” into law on September first. He is facing much backlash for this decision, as those against this bill say that it is unconstitutional and dangerous.

On September 1, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed a new abortion ban into law.  This new law prohibits nearly all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy from being performed in Texas. It bans all abortions after a “heartbeat,” or what is considered one by lawmakers, is found through an ultrasound.   The ban is now one of the strictest measures involving abortions in the country, as many women don’t even realize they are pregnant until six weeks have already passed. Victims of rape and incest are not excluded from this law, and are thus expected to find out about their pregnancies and get abortions before those six weeks.  This new ban also enables private citizens to sue others for taking part in performing an abortion, helping someone find a clinic that would perform one, or even thinking about doing so.

The “Heartbeat Bill” was put in effect on the first of September.

The biggest difference between this abortion ban and others, is that it is mainly enforced by independent citizens rather than law enforcement.  The law encourages citizens to file civil lawsuits against those involved abortions (whether that be providing, aiding, or receiving).  To implement this, Texas Right to Life, a non-profit and pro-life organization, has put up a website for “whistleblowers.”  This site is a way for people to post anonymous tips on abortions happening and those involved in said abortions.

This line graph shows the number of abortion clinics in Texas from 1980-2016. As you can see, the number has drastically decreased. Although there are not many abortion clinics in Texas anymore, there is still a large need for them. Furthermore, there is a larger need for abortions after 6 weeks to be legal, otherwise there will be a larger decrease in clinics.

This bill has caused pro-choice advocates to take to the streets in protest, saying that it’s not only unfair to women, but completely dangerous as well.  This is because it forces women who are in need of an abortion, to seek other solutions, such as out-of-state or at home abortions.  Although Texan women are allowed to pursue out-of-state abortions, it’s not accessible to all, and this could lead to desperate attempts at illegal abortions in-state, or dangerous births if the woman is not fit or healthy to deliver a baby.

Clara Burgess, LHS Junior and avid pro-choice activist, thinks that this law is unsafe.  “They shouldn’t be able to make a law like this when it differs state-by-state, it makes it harder for women in Texas,” she says.  She goes on to say, “It causes them to seek different methods that could turn deadly.”

Doctor’s offices, urgent cares (like the one shown above), abortion clinics, or any other clinics are now not allowed to perform abortions to women who are more than 6 weeks pregnant.

Other critics say that this ban goes completely against Roe V. Wade and is unconstitutional.  The Roe V. Wade decision from 1973 made it so pregnant women have the right to make a decision whether or not to have an abortion without government interference.  By signing this bill into law, Texas lawmakers have given the government too much power in the abortion decision process.  It prohibits abortions in instances in which what lawmakers see as a “heartbeat” is found in an ultrasound.

However, many medical professionals have come out to say that what lawmakers see as  a “heartbeat”, is in fact, not a heartbeat.

Brett Kavanaugh, shown above, is a conservative Supreme Court Justice who voted to move the abortion ban into effect. Because of this, many stood around his house in DC and protested to show their anger in his decision.

Those against the law protested around Brett Kavanaugh’s D.C. home on Monday.  Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh was one of the five justices to vote to put the abortion ban into effect.  Ava Fisher, LHS Senior, agrees with the protest, “I think it’s good people are protesting, no one seems to be listening to what we have to say unless we are protesting on their front step.  It’s necessary at this point.”

She continues, “The abortion ban is horrible, there’s reason to protest.  It’s ripping rights away from women and forcing them to not have a choice on their own future.  It’s unfair that while men who get women pregnant can run away and not be held responsible, women are now being forced to keep the child.”

This ban has caused abortion clinics to rush to finish all of the abortions that they legally could before it was put into effect.  Although many clinics may not agree with the law, they have agreed to follow it while it is in place.