Heartbeat Bill Ends Abortion in Texas

Alyssa Klempner , Editor

On September 1st, 2021, Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, signed the “Heartbeat Bill” into law. This law prohibits any woman to get an abortion once cardiac activity can be detected through an ultrasound, around just 6 weeks after conception. This is before most women even know that they are pregnant. To most, this can look like nothing more than a missed or irregular period, something some women face very often. This prohibits at least 85% of previously performed abortions in Texas. CEO Amy Hagstrom of Whole Women’s Health, a Texas located abortion provider,  states that “The tragedy is that we can only provide abortions for about 10 percent of the people that we could provide abortion for yesterday.” Not only does this law forbid abortions, but it also allows people to sue women trying to get an abortion, abortion providers, and anyone who helps a woman obtain one, including someone giving a person a ride to get an abortion. By simply reporting an abortion provider, you could earn $10,000. 

This new law fails to consider any acts of rape, sexual assault, or incest. Young girls can be forced to give birth to a child despite the health risks. Although there are exceptions for major medical risks that put the mother’s life in danger, those which are not clearly stated, the risk of simply going through a pregnancy at a young age is not factored into these exemptions. Women under the age of 20 are at a much greater risk of the following during pregnancy; bleeding, hemorrhages, toxemia, severe anemia, prolonged labor, and death. This law forces young girls who have suffered through rape to face these risks. 

Roe V Wade was put into law in 1973 by the U.S Supreme Court. This declares that access to safe and legal abortion is a women’s constitutional right. However, state abortion restrictions like this one directly go against it. 79% of Americans want Roe V. Wade to stay a constitutional right, 50% want abortion legalized only for certain circumstances, and 29% want it legal under any and all circumstances. But because of this Texas law, these people are no longer given the choice to decide whether it is right or wrong. It’s important to note that a block on medical abortions does not mean that people will stop getting them. What it means is that by states making abortion illegal, they are dismissing the ability for ⅓ of all women to access a safe abortion. Illegal, dangerous abortions will still occur. By instating these “pro-life” laws for the unborn, the government is putting women at risk by forcing them to have to find backup plans that are often dangerous. For some, the “choice” of whether or not to get an abortion is more of a need, one that only the women in that particular situation are able to understand. This need is being stripped away because the governor, a man who will never have to face a situation like this because of his gender, does not want women to have the opportunity to receive a medical procedure. The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no laws should be made based on religion. However, making laws for the pro-life group that goes against the choice of abortion is a violation of the separation of church and state. Women’s rights should not be threatened and removed because of someone’s religious beliefs.

Interviewer Dylan Aponte sought out to find the opinions of Texas residents who are being affected by this bill. Judy Taylor, a mother of two children who also received an abortion in her lifetime, shares her perspective on this matter. “I had an abortion in my 20s at 4 weeks and I stand behind that, but I agree with this new law wholeheartedly. Others feel that life begins at conception, but I don’t feel that way.” In this statement, she directly contradicts herself multiple times. She first says that she has received an abortion, then she says that she supports the anti-abortion law, and finally that she believes life does not begin at conception, a pro-choice statement. This is a clear example of hypocrisy and the inconsistencies with pro-life statements. Beth Taylor, another Texas resident, says that “In my personal opinion, God doesn’t make mistakes and abortion is murder.” As stated before, this is a violation of the separation of church and state. There are over 4,000 religions in today’s world, and people should not have the opportunity to restrict others’ rights because of their personal beliefs. 

In an effort to stop this bill, the United States Justice Department sued the state of Texas over this law. The Attorney General, Merrick Garland, stated in legal terms that Texas’s heartbeat bill is, “invalid under the Supremacy Clause and the 14th Amendment, is preempted by federal law and violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity.” In simpler words, it interferes with the federal government’s constitutional powers, violates the 14th amendment, which ensures all citizens “equal protection of the laws,” and intrudes on the feral government’s authority. He states that the law is a scheme and is unconstitutional. Many pro-choice advocates and political are powers are angered over this law and support the lawsuit over Texas.

The problem with this new law is that it opens the gate for other laws to be made to remove our constitutional rights. As Garland stated, “This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, should fear.” Although this law may not affect everyone, it paves the way for other laws to be made to restrict other rights. The Texas Heartbeat Bill is a step backward for the country.