Cruel, extreme law bans abortion in Texas, creates vigilante bounty system
As the country continues to wait for the Supreme Court to take action, abortion rights advocates and supporters rallied in Portland in solidarity with Texas and in opposition to the new draconian six-week abortion ban that will be enforced by private citizens suing individuals suspected of providing abortion care or helping someone in Texas obtain an abortion after six weeks.
The “sue thy neighbor provision” allows anti-abortion activists, distant relatives, abusive partners, or even a stranger to report anyone suspected of providing an abortion, or helping someone get an abortion in Texas, and collect a $10,000 bounty for each successful claim.
The Texas Policy Evaluation Project estimates the law will mean only 16% of Texans seeking abortion will be able to get care in-state. Those who can afford to travel hundreds of miles out of state (an average increase of 7 hours round trip), take time off work, arrange child care and transportation, and pay out-of-pocket can get an abortion out of state, but as many of 46% of people seeking abortions in Texas will likely carry their pregnancies to term against their will.
The Texas bill is part of a national agenda to end access to abortion in this country. With nearly 600 abortion restrictions introduced this year alone — 90 of which were enacted — 2021 has been the most hostile legislative year for reproductive rights and health since Roe was decided nearly 50 years ago and later this fall the Supreme Court will hear the first driect challenge to Roe v. Wade on a case from Mississippi that could render Roe v. Wade meaningless.
Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
Everyone knows someone or loves someone who has had an abortion or will need an abortion. This draconian law not only bans abortion at six weeks -- before many people even know they are pregnant -- it allows any private citizen to sue someone suspected of providing an abortion or helping someone get an abortion. The intent is clear: isolate people seeking abortion by targeting their entire support network and discouraging their loved ones from helping them for fear of being sued. Laws don’t stop people from getting pregnant or needing an abortion. Patients aren’t interested in politics. They don’t expect their zip code to determine whether they can get the care they need which is why we will continue to do what we can to help patients here in Maine and across the country.
Meagan Sway, Policy Director, the ACLU of Maine
Texas’s abortion ban is a full-scale assault on patients, their health care providers, and their support systems. This abortion ban is deeply unpopular and blatantly unconstitutional. The ACLU and its reproductive rights partners won’t stop fighting until it’s blocked.
Luna Pitaniello, abortion rights supporter
I'm speaking out today because what happens in other states affects all of us. And with the Supreme Court about to consider a case that could end Roe v. Wade as we know it, this is no time to be silent. I'll keep speaking up for access to safe and legal abortion for everyone.