Abortion law in US: Despite legal efforts to prevent the most serious abortion law in the US, it came into force.
Almost the entire abortion ban in Texas empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates the law, eventually opening the floodgates to harassment and frivolous cases from anti-abortion vigilantes who close most clinics in the state.
“Abortion access is pushed into complete chaos,” said Amanda Williams, executive director of the Abortion Support Group Lilith Fund, the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the law. “Unfortunately, as we have seen over the years with relentless attacks here in our state, many are crossing many cracks that require access.
“It’s unbelievable that Texas politicians have escaped with this destructive and cruel law that is hurting so many people.”
Senate Bill 8, introduced by Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law in May by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, prohibits abortion for nearly six weeks after the discovery of fetal cardiac activity and does not provide for rape or exclusion. Texas was the first state to ban early pregnancy abortion after Ro v Wade, and last-minute attempts to stop it by appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
A dozen other states passed bills called the “Heartbeat,” all of which were blocked by the courts. The Texas version of the novel, which was deliberately designed to protect government officials from enforcement, thus making it more difficult to secure legal challenges. It instead encourages any private citizen in the US to bring a civil lawsuit against the abortion provider or those who “help or promote” the process.
State abortion providers say the law “will reduce abortion access in Texas as an immediate and catastrophic event,” and perhaps many abortion clinics will eventually have to close. This prevents most Texas women (85%) from accessing abortion care because most people are not aware that they are six weeks pregnant.
Planned Parenthood and Whole Women’s Health Clinics, which operate 11 clinics in the state, told the Guardian that they would abide by the strict law even if it was contrary to their best medical practices. In the days before the law went into effect, Texas clinics said this week at Law Cutoff Point and had to repel patients in need of abortion care in the near future.
Some abortion doctors in Texas have decided to discontinue services by opting to give up the potential risk of useless and expensive lawsuits. For example, Amy Hogstrom Miller, the clinic’s founder, says that many doctors at the Four Whole Women’s Health Clinics in Texas do not take care of their livelihood.
Texas abortion provider and OB-GYN Dr Ghazaleh Moedi said, “We are all going to abide by the law even though it is against the law, inhumane and unjust.” It threatens my livelihood and I fully hope to sue. My biggest fear is to make sure that my community, which is already very vulnerable from logistical and financial barriers, is doing the most harm to Black and Latinx patients, get the care they need.
The law forces many patients to leave the state for care, increasing the driving distance twenty times to the abortion clinic — an average of 12 miles to 248 miles, a one-way, nearly 500-mile round trip, the Gutmacher Institute found. And only if patients have the resources to do so, without work at work, the ability to pay for the procedure, and in some cases child care.
Providers and abortion fund support groups — assisting low-income women with travel, accommodation, and direct services through donations — have spent months coordinating with clinics outside, including New Mexico and Colorado. Timely care when SB8 comes into force. Last year, the state was briefed on what would happen if abortion care was discontinued: when the state banned most abortion procedures in the midst of the Kovid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the number of patients leaving the state for care increased by almost 400%.
Many women who want an abortion expect it to be delayed until later pregnancy and others may have to delay the pregnancy or try to terminate their pregnancies without medical supervision, abortion providers warn. As with most abortion restrictions, low-income women and women of color carry the heaviest burden under SB8.
Physicians under SB8 cannot be targeted alone: a thrilling wide range of individuals and groups, including clinic nurses, abortion fund workers, domestic violence and rape crisis counselors or family members providing a car ride to the clinic. Now you can face the suite from strangers. Plaintiffs may be charged a minimum of $ 10,000 if they win, but they will not be able to recover a legal payment if the providers are legally successful. The law, according to the providers, induces abortion “bounty hunters”.
This is the first radical legal provision of the law in the country.
The state’s leading anti-abortion lobby group, Texas Right to Life, has already authorized anti-abortion activists to enforce the law by creating a website that invites “whistleblowers” to report SB8 violations. (In response, pro-choice lawyers filled out digital entry forms with satirical information.)
Abortion providers, funders and clergy, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against SB8 in July, saying the law “creates absolute confusion in Texas for Texans who need abortion services”.
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A preliminary injunction hearing was held in federal court on Monday, August 30th. However, the largely conservative Fifth Circuit Court adjourned the hearing Sunday afternoon and rejected the plaintiff’s request to allow the district court to block the law. Providers have approached the U.S. Supreme Court for emergency relief.
The court, however, failed to take action before the law came into force on Wednesday. The country’s Supreme Court, which now has a strong anti-choice panel, plans to consider a 15 – week ban on Mississippi, which could later test Roe v. Row.
Texas is already the only country in the U.S. to have access to abortions, including a 24-hour waiting period and a 20-week abortion ban due to state laws by the Republican-dominated legislature over the past decade. , Restrictions on telemedicine and a ban on private and public insurance. Here are the highest number of abortion deserts in the country — cities that travel at least 100 miles to care for an abortion-seeking patient.
Since the passage of the 2013 multi-component law, known as House Bill 2, nearly half of abortion clinics in the state have closed, dropping from -40 to less than 20. The law was finally overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2016, with many clinics unable to reopen. Large areas of the state – including Panhandle and West Texas – are without an abortion clinic, and women have to travel long distances for care.