A new Texas law took effect [Wednesday, September 1], a brute-force frontal attack against women by depriving them any reasonable exercise of their right to abortion. The law bans all abortions at 6 weeks following a woman’s last menstrual period, not the point of conception. In practical terms the prohibition can take effect in even less than six weeks of a pregnancy. The law also gives any person the right to sue any other person who in any way participates in enabling the abortion. I guess that could include the poor Uber driver who unwittingly takes a woman to the clinic! People who sue successfully will be awarded at least $10,000 plus court costs and attorney fees. I foresee a whole new cottage industry of ambulance chasers.
I could fill a book with the reasons why this law is cynical and unconscionable. First off, this is an attack against low-income workers, and immigrants specifically. Those most affected most will be low-income women, often Black or Hispanic, who don’t have the same ability as middle-class women to travel out-of-state to access abortion services elsewhere. Claiming one supports a “right to life” is fine, but what about quality of life? The Texas legislature was hot-to-trot to pass the reactionary anti-abortion Senate Bill 8 but couldn’t muster sufficient votes to pass Senate Bill 117 to expand government-supported health care for working poor Texans. In 2019 Texas ranked dead last in the country with the highest number and the highest rate of uninsured children. Texas has the most children of any state living in poverty, 1.4 million.
This Texas law is the latest volley in a reactionary war nationwide to overturn Roe v. Wade and force a return to back-alley butcher abortions. More abortion restrictions have been enacted this year than any other since Roe v. Wade. I have to wonder how many of the Texas legislators that pushed through this bill restricting women’s rights to control their bodies also condemn masks as a violation of their freedom to control their bodies and what they wear. Texas House Bill 141 would make it illegal for local jurisdictions to enact mask mandates for public safety. Such utter hypocrisy!
The answer is to vigorously protest this Texas law and others like it. Some 1,000 people protested at the state Capitol in Austin on May 29th, days after the Texas law passed. In 2019, tens of thousands protested across the country in support of women’s right to choose abortion.
Title image depicts Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe), left, and her lawyer Gloria Allred on the steps of the Supreme Court, 1989. Photo by Lorie Shaull, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. [License]
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