For years Texas has been the epicenter of the anti-abortion movement. Now, a broad coalition of groups have banded together in a lawsuit meant to stop the latest extreme anti-abortion bill in Texas.
In May, Greg Abbott officially signed Senate Bill 8 in a closed-door ceremony with Republican lawmakers. The new legislation, which is slated to go into effect on September 1, would not only essentially ban abortions after six weeks, it would also create a legal minefield by allowing anyone in the country to sue an abortion provider or any person they believe aided or abetted an abortion. For anyone who mounts a successful legal campaign through SB 8, they could receive $10,000.
On a press call about the lawsuit, lead attorney and senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights emphasized that SB 8 would create harrowing vigilante scenarios for healthcare providers. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Planned Parenthood and Whole Women’s Health.
On social media, political observers compared SB 8 to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian book about a society of handmaidens forced against their will to give birth to a ruling class of wealthy gentry. Others noted that the legislation also very grimly creates a bounty system for uncovering a potential abortion.
Six abortion fund groups in Texas joined the lawsuit: The Afiya Center, Frontera Fund, Fund Texas Choice, Jane’s Due Process, Lilith Fund, and Texas Equal Access Fund. In a statement about the lawsuit Kamyon Conner, the Executive Director of Texas Equal Access Fund spoke to the legal ramifications that could occur if SB 8 goes into effect.
“With this new law, anti-abortion politicians are empowering anti-abortion activists to use lawsuits to harass and intimidate anyone who helps someone get an abortion,” said Conner. “Abortions help people plan their futures and thrive. Everyone should be able to get abortion care when they need it—without stigma or harassment. These extremists are relentless, but we’re ready to fight so that we can continue helping each other, the way abortion funds always have.”
During the special session, Texas Republicans were hoping to pass another abortion ban for medication abortion. By breaking quorum, Texas Democrats have also blocked that from advancing.
Phot: AFP / MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images