Late last night on Aug.31, Whole Womans Health, an abortion clinic, operating in Austin, Fort Worth and McKinney, Texas, tweeted that its waiting rooms were filled and how it was committed to providing as many abortions as possible before the clock struck midnight. This panic and urgency was triggered by the reality that as of September 1, nearly all abortion care in the state of Texas would be banned as SB 8 went into effect.
The senate bill filed on March 11th, 2021 was sponsored by 17 senators and 74 representatives, all Republican Texans, majority non-Black men, with the exception of 11 disappointing white women and ironically James White, the lone Black sponsor.
SB 8 is a six-week pre-viability abortion ban, one that completly ignores that access to abortion services is a constituional right and contradicts that the reality that banning abortion before a fetus is viable, the point at which a fetus can sustain life outside the uterus, is unconstitutional as hell.
Yet, within ten weeks, these viability villains voted the bill through and sent it to the governor’s desk.
On May 19, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed Texas’ SB 8 into law, less than four weeks after he tweeted of his excitement to endorse the bill. His tweet was in response to the news of Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt, who promised to sign every pro-life bill that hits his desk, endorsing a similar ban.
These heartbeat bans – laws barring most abortions at the onset of a fetal heartbeat, are just a few of nearly 100 abortion restrictions that state legislatures have passed in 2021, more than any previous year finds a report released by the Guttmacher Institute.
Let’s be clear, abortion is still legal in the state of Texas. However, this extreme law bans abortions as early as six weeks, approximately two weeks after a missed period, restricting true access as providers have reported that 85-90 percent of their clinics’ patients access an abortion after six weeks’ gestation, and that’s because many people don’t know they’re pregnant before that point, according to Rewire.News
It’s important to name that these restrictions are never designed to police the bodies of white cis-women with access to weatlh, but to regulate what the most marginalized have access to.
–And as is if criminalizing abortion access wasn’t enough, this abortion ban comes with additional terms and conditions. It has clearly stated that citizens have the authority to sue anyone “aiding and abetting” abortion care or someone who “intends” to assist an abortion patient including doctors, abortion funds and other individuals or organizations committed to access.
Abortion advocates on the frontlines have taken legal steps to request that the Supreme Court intervene to block the law, however, the urgent pleas remain pending. These restrictions rob Black people and other people of color of their bodily autonomy and reminds us that there is no reproductive justice without access to abortion care.
For updates in real time and guidance from the frontline, follow the leadership of those listed below:
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