What Does the New Texas Abortion Law Mean?

Photo Credit: Texas Tribune

Photo Credit: Texas Tribune

Hope Walton, Writer

Legislation can be hard to keep up with. Recently Texas came under fire for banning abortion after around 6 weeks of pregnancy. This law has been viewed as extreme for a couple of reasons. First, it makes no exceptions in the cases of rape or incest. Second, it allows citizens to sue not only abortion providers but also anyone who “aids” in the process. The latter includes those who provide transportation to clinics or financial help to patients.
If the federal courts ultimately allow this law to stand, it’s very likely that other conservative states will move to pass similar laws. Seago, with Texas Right to Life, said his organization is working with activists in multiple states who are eager to replicate this model if it succeeds in blocking access to most abortions in Texas.
“It is extremely possible and very common for people to get to the six-week mark and not know they are pregnant,” said Dr. Jennifer Villavicencio, lead for equity transformation at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

What was the reaction to this law?
Many people have already come out in defiance of this law. Recently, a Texas doctor, Dr. Alan Braid, admitted to performing an abortion past the 6-week mark. This brings about many questions. What will the consequences of this law be for doctors? Will a lawsuit against Braid ensue?
The law would allow any Texas citizen to sue Dr. Braid, even if they have no connection to his procedure, and potentially walk away with more than $10,000. Anti-abortion group “Texas Right to Life” also makes it easier than ever to do so.

What’s in store for the future?
The Biden administration is filing a lawsuit against Texas challenging its near-total ban on abortions, which the Supreme Court declined to block last week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to hold a vote on the women’s health protection act, which would enshrine the right to an abortion in federal law. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that the Justice Department filed the suit against Texas over its law, which he called “clearly unconstitutional under long standing Supreme Court precedent.” The law bars abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in the embryo. This typically occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy.

It’s unknown how this lawsuit will unfold at this time, but one thing is for certain: President Biden made it very clear where he stands on this case. The president claimed it “unleashes unconstitutional chaos” against women, and solidified that he views the Texas legislation as a direct attack on women’s rights protected by Roe v. Wade.