The Battle of Senate Bill 8
The struggle of the new Texas abortion law and what supporters may have missed.
Women deserve a choice. No human being should be forced to endure such an experience without their proper input. As heavily discussed in class as well as in major recent news discussions, the state of Texas passed an abortion law that has caused major controversy in the public eye. Senate Bill 8 bans abortions once cardiac activity is detectable, which is typically around six weeks. The issue lies within this short time (6 weeks) considering many women are not aware of their pregnancy at six weeks.
With women not even being aware of this, Senate Bill 8 is practically eliminating a women’s choice of abortion in Texas. When an individual has no choice in what’s happening to their body, a huge issue regarding human rights comes into question.
The law goes as far as rewarding citizens for upholding the new abortion restrictions. Citizens can sue anyone that aids or abets in the process of abortion. What this means, for example, is that if someone simply provides a woman with proper assistance to receive an abortion, (Uber driver, doctor, staff etc.) they can be sued. Those who help stop these abortions are rewarded a minimum of $10,000.
Connecting to Constitutional Rights, Roe v Wade rules that women have the liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction in the United States. Noting this, the Texas restrictions seem to be “excessive” considering women have little to no time to decide under this new law. Things become very tricky in this specific situation when attempting to deem this unconstitutional because the law is being enforced by citizens and not state officials. Because of this, it become very difficult to challenge in the court of law.
John Gibson, CEO of Tripwire software company released a statement in support of this new law via Twitter. In his tweet, Gibson stated, “Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat. As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer.”
Following this tweet, there was major backlash and conflict which caused Gibson to immediately resign from his position. Many corporate partners made public statements denouncing Gibson’s statement and paused their business relationships with Tripwire until action was taken.
The author of the bill and Texas Senator Bryan Hughes also voiced his opinion in a recent article from the Wall Street Journal. In this article he states, “I believe life begins at conception, and I believe most Texans are in line with that understanding of human personhood. If they are not, we have free and fair elections in which they can make their differences understood. Elected officials in other states may take a different view and they are not beholden to Texas’ voters.”
While every individual is surely entitled to their own opinion on topics, and there is certainly immense value in every human life, I personally feel this situation involves personal rights that aren’t being properly acknowledged. There is also a mention of fair election, but there is simply no room for time to be wasted with such an impactful law. An example of this being the aspects of this law regarding rape victims. The law does not make any accommodations for rape or even incest. This leaves many women to deal with consequences in a situation where they had no choice to begin with.
This law also creates a difficult situation for women who aren’t in the situation of rape or incest as well. Pregnancy can be a traumatic experience that causes major health issues. According to the US Department of Health, some common complications include high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, various infections, depression, and anxiety. It is also key to note the various health complications that can take place during labor. With that being said, pregnancy can have lasting effects on the body, and to put women at risk for these complications without choice is alarming.
Things become even more questionable when state leaders do not have a proper understanding on the functioning of this law. Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently responded to a question regarding the new law with rape and incest. When asked if this law forces victims to carry pregnancy to term, Abbott responded, “Obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion, and so, for one, it doesn't provide that.”
I have a hard time understanding how this can be true considering the nature of the situation. According to the American Pregnancy Association, most women find out they are pregnant between weeks four through seven. With that being said, women have two weeks at best to make a decision and no time at worst. It is also worth noting that Planned Parenthood released statistics revealing that only 10%-15% of women who receive abortions in Texas are less than six weeks pregnant.
Governor Abbott received major criticism from several different individuals and organizations following his statement. Politicians, organizations, and more voiced their concerns with this puzzling remark.
Though those in favor of this new law may have good intentions, there are just so many outside factors that make this situation much more complicated than a quick fix. When a law can have such detrimental results on individuals, every aspect needs to be considered. Life is all about choices and this situation is no different. Women deserve to have a voice in the functioning of their bodies.
Jalen Staples is a Cleveland, Ohio native currently majoring in Communication Studies at Davidson College.