Texas Abortion Law: What Is It and Why Should We Care?

by Neena Kumar ’25

Source: CNN

Published Oct. 16th, 2021

On September 1, 2021, the United States Supreme Court refused to ban the Texas Law, Senate Bill 8. The Texas Abortion Law disregards the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling on the Roe v. Wade case, where the court ruled that a women’s right to choose an abortion, up to the point of viability, is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

This law essentially bans most abortions by prohibiting abortions after detecting a fetus’ heartbeat, typically at 5-6 weeks of gestation. However, according to ncbi.gov, “on average, women become aware of their pregnancies between 5 and 6 weeks gestation.” Thus, this law bans abortions before most women even realize they are pregnant. Furthermore, this law does not make exceptions for rape or incest.

According to apnnews.com, the new law “allows any private citizen to sue Texas abortion providers who violate the law, as well as anyone who ‘aids or abets’ a woman getting the procedure.” Citizens enacting the lawsuit get at least $10,000 if they win in civil court. 

The law will primarily impact “teenagers… low-income people… people of color, including undocumented immigrants,” states the New York Times in “Answers to Questions About the Texas Abortion Law.” According to open.edu, teenagers may have abortions because of “fear of dropping out of school or interrupting their studies” and “fear of not having the financial ability to support themselves and their child.” 

Women of a higher financial standing are not as affected by this ban since they can afford to travel out of state for an abortion. On the other hand, less wealthy women typically don’t have similar financial resources to travel out of state. 

People have diametrically opposing views on abortion, siding with a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body or supporting the fetus’s right to life. However, since the Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of a women’s constitutional right to choose an abortion during Roe v.  Wade, this Texas law is a blatant attack on that right, provoking concerns that this will pave the way for other states to impose similar rules.