The struggle for the right to choose has intensified since Senate Bill 8 (SB8) has been in effect for more than a week in Texas. He is the most restrictive abortion law in the country, banning abortions at six weeks — a point at which many people are unaware of their pregnancy. SB8 has been confirmed by the Supreme Court, which voted 5 to 4 refusing to block the law Wednesday, September 1.
Much of the controversy surrounding SB8 is rooted not just in the six-week timeline, but in the liability aspect of it. SB8 is the first bill of its kind to place maintenance in the hands of private citizens, rather than government officials. Section 171.208 of the bill states that anyone who is not a judicial officer or employee of the state may bring a civil action against anyone who “aids and abets” the practice of abortion in any setting, or someone who even expresses the intention to do so.
Helping and abetting in the context of this bill could mean something as simple as dropping someone off at their appointment. Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft released statements after the bill passed, stating that any legal fees incurred against their drivers for bringing a rider on a date will be covered by the company.
VSconservative states like Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio have tried pass legislation of this magnitude but were consistently shot at the federal court level, as their proposals required that the law be enforced by government officials. The particular inclusion of private citizens in SB8 contributed to its passage, allowing the bill to avoid judicial review in this context.
Section 171.208 of the bill inspired predominantly Texas Pro-Life Organizations to develop what is calledwhistleblower sites.” After news from the websites went viral, it didn’t take long for the teenage activists of ICT Tac went to work to take down the site (recalling of their efforts to sabotagee Trump rallied last year). They flooded the site with misinformation and false reports, and although they managed to spam, the site didn’t crash as expected.
As expected, the passage of this bill raised fears for the future of Roe v. Wade. Adopted by the Supreme Court in 1973, Roe vs. Wade has been the legal precedent regarding abortions in the United States for decades. It states, through inherent rights of privacy, that a woman’s choice to have an abortion is protected by the United States Constitution. During presidential elections and Supreme Court appointments, there was debate about whether or not the 1973 ruling would stand under new administrations.
In the aftermath of Trump’s inauguration in 2017, 2.6 million people marched across the country to protect women’s rights. Their main concerns were about abortion; during Trump’s campaign period, he voiced his position against the right to choose. “The answer is that there must be some form of punishment,” Asset said at a town hall in March 2016.
Women were told they were the overreaction of politicians and popular news show hosts, being told that Roe v. Wade was in no danger. Five years after these claims, this fear has become a reality.
With the passage of the law in Texas, other GOP states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Indiana and the Dakotas are considering doing the same, potentially creating a chain reaction overthrowing Roe v. Wade in a number of conservative states. Florida has already expressed its explicit intention to review SB8 in an attempt to update the state’s abortion laws. This is of concern in a number of contexts, ranging from welfare to academic life.
It is to highlight that SB8 does not include any updates to existing social benefit policies, such as funding for social service programs, child support and social benefits. It essentially criminalizes abortion, while doing nothing to ensure that those forced into parenthood by this law have the means to care for children.
To paint a brief picture of the potential reality this law brings to life, consider the following statistics. In Texas, 58% of women who have abortions are between the ages of 20 and 29.. About 25% of American children live in single-parent families, and of this 25%, 80% live with their mother. Therefore, by prohibiting women in their twenties from making the choices that best suit their financial and personal needs, this law will forcefully create a burgeoning population of single mothers. Given the monetary burden of single motherhood in the United States, with low wages and no maternity leave, it is unreasonable to force people into this situation without strong support.
Moreover, the Texas’ foster care system is currently overwhelmed, with more children than ever assigned to unlicensed homes like offices, churches and motels. Since 2019, 23 children have died in long-term foster homes in Texas, with causes ranging from abuse to neglect, with some deaths still under investigation. In 2015, it was found that the Texas Foster Care system consistently violated constitutional rights children in his care. At the end of 2020, there was 47,913 children in the Texas foster care system. The Texas system is overwhelmed as it is, but an addition of children by the tens of thousands would destroy it entirely.
The implementation of the bill also becomes of particular concern when considering the effects it may have in universities.
Statistics on sexual assault and rape on college campuses have been an alarming problem for decades. 26.4% of female students are victims of rape or sexual assault during their undergraduate years. There are approximately 32,000 rape-related pregnancies Every year in the United States, female college students, tormented at first by aggression statistics, now face another dangerous problem.
At a press conference On Tuesday, September 7, Governor Abbott said rape concerns would soon be allayed, saying he had a plan to “arrest and kick” all rapists off the streets of Texas. However, Governor Abbott has yet to present any concrete plans in the form of legislation to back up this claim.