Even before the Texas legislature convened in Austin, abortion advocates were bracing for a particularly hostile landscape in the state. Now the legislature and Gov. Abbott have delivered on one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the country, and there may be even more grim legislation on the horizon as the Supreme Court announced they would be taking on a case that could erode Roe v. Wade.
This morning, Abbott held a signing ceremony, which was closed to the press, for Senate Bill 8. The new law would ban abortion essentially before many women even know they are pregnant. SB 8 would also allow virtually anyone to file a lawsuit against an abortion provider or any person they believe aided or abetted an abortion.
In an op-ed for Texas Signal, Caroline Duble, the political director of Avow, an abortion advocacy organization, highlighted the perilous reaches of SB 8. “It means that a nosey neighbor could sue a mother for giving her daughter a ride to get an abortion; or a classmate could be sued for giving a friend $20, even if they didn’t know it would be used to obtain an abortion,” wrote Duble.
Barring a court intervention, Senate Bill 8 will go into effect on September 1. Amanda Beatriz Williams, the Executive Director of Lilith Fund, issued a statement after the signing.
“Not only does this bill ban abortion before most people even know they’re pregnant, it would allow anti-abortion extremists to harass and sue abortion funds like Lilith Fund — our staff, our volunteers, our donors — simply for supporting our fellow Texans,” said Williams. “No one should face fear, stigma, or unnecessary barriers when seeking reproductive healthcare, including abortion care. This fight is far from over. Abortion is still legal in all 50 states, and this Legislature can’t shut us down or stop us from supporting Texans seeking abortion care.”
Lilith Fund was one of a number of organizations protesting outside the Governor’s Mansion this morning. Armed with a bullhorn, Rosann Mariaappuram, the Executive Director of Jane’s Due Process, another abortion access fund, had a message for Abbott. “Your laws are unconstitutional, and our abortion access is not up to you,” shouted Mariaappuram.
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