On Wednesday, Senate Bill 8, a bill that bans abortion six weeks after pregnancy and allows citizens to sue abortion providers is set to take effect after a Texas court cancelled a hearing on halting the legislation.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cancelled the hearing set for Monday morning where many women’s rights organizations were going to make their case against the state.
Now those organizations and some abortion center clinics have filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court to stop the law.
SB 8, also known as the heartbeat bill, bans abortion after six weeks and allows citizens to sue abortion providers. The law will also require abortion providers to pay for the plaintiff’s legal bill after losing the case.
Because of the bill many abortion clinics across the state are set to close and be limited to only providing pregnancy, birth control, and STD services.
The Signal spoke with Sierra Caywood, a sterilization nurse at the Aaron Women’s Center in Dallas on her clinic’s preparation for Wednesday.
“If the law says nothing more than six weeks than that’s what we’re going to do,” Caywood said. “We’re closing on Wednesday because we know we’re not going to have enough patients to open.”
According to Caywood, the average patient that comes into the clinic is already 7 to 10 weeks pregnant and the clinic sees around 30 to 40 women a day.
“We’re telling people we are not going to be able to do anything until after the first when we know what the law says,” Caywood said. “They could always call and we could let them know.”
Since citizens are allowed to sue abortion providers, Caywood said the clinic is also taking steps to protect staff members.
“We’re trying to make sure our staff is okay and nothing is going to happen to them before the law,” Caywood said. “That way they can’t be accountable for anything that has happened before.”
If all abortion clinics are set to close, the majority of pregnant Texans will be required to travel to the nearest two clinics in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
And according to a report, the average travel time to a clinic will increase from 12 miles to 248 miles.
At the same time of this litigation, the Texas Senate passed a bill earlier this month that bans medical abortions after seven weeks.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made banning medical abortion one of his key issues in this second special session set to end Sept. 7.
Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.