President Joe Biden blasted the new set of draconian abortion restrictions that took effect in Texas on Wednesday which outlaw most procedures and threaten the future of reproductive freedom in the United States.
“Today, Texas law SB8 went into effect. This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” Biden said in a statement. “The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes. And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual.”
The president added that his administration remains “deeply committed” to a woman’s right to choose and that it will “protect and defend that right.”
But the latest developments strongly indicate that it is going to be much easier said than done.
On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear legal challenges to SB8, allowing it to proceed as established law despite its glaringly obvious unconstitutionality. The Court’s 6-3 right-wing majority’s inaction opens the door for other states to adopt similar pieces of legislation that strip women of their bodily autonomy, cowardly and insidiously sidestepping a direct reversal of Roe versus Wade.
Senate Bill 8 was signed into law in May by Republican COVID-19 superspreader Governor Greg Abbott. The uniquely extreme law prohibits performing abortions after six weeks – the point at which fetal heartbeats are typically detectable and when most women do not know they are pregnant – with no exceptions. SB8 also authorizes and incentivizes private citizens to sue individuals who assist patients seeking an abortion in civil court.
Worse, if the defendants lose, they have to pay whatever it cost to sue them. If the case is dismissed, they get nothing – not even protection against future lawsuits. The implications of this twisted form of vigilante justice are terrifying.
Salon correspondent Amanda Marcotte noted in an editorial on Wednesday:
To make it worse, the law is written in such a way as to make wife beaters, Aunt Lydias, and embittered incels the primary enforcers of the ban, establishing what amounts to a public bounty hunter system. As legal analyst Imani Gandy explained at Rewire News Group, the law ‘allows anyone – literally anyone, including strangers! – to file a lawsuit against a person they suspect is going to either provide an abortion or help a person obtain an abortion.’ This means that not only can the abusive ex-boyfriend sue the doctor who helped his victim escape his clutches, but he can now also go after the friend who put her up and paid for her abortion.
The Handmaid’s Tale was not supposed to be a documentary, but here we are.
What's Your Reaction?
Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.