May 3, 2021 — Two extreme anti-abortion bills are scheduled to be heard on the House floor this Wednesday, May 5. Senate Bill 8, would ban abortion at six weeks, and House Bill 1280, known as a “trigger ban” would ban nearly all abortions if Roe v. Wade was overturned.
SB 8 would ban abortion before most people know they are pregnant and allows no exceptions for rape or incest. The bill would also allow anyone to sue any person, including an abortion provider, who helps someone obtain abortion care, or who merely “intends” to provide that help. This includes doctors, clinics, domestic violence shelters, rape counselors, abortion funds and even friends or family of abortion patients. The private cause of action in the bill is so broad that it would allow a rapist to sue their victim’s counselor, physician or family.
A recent poll found that a majority of Texans from across the political spectrum opposed the extreme measures in SB 8, with 76 percent in opposition to the “rapist rights” provision that would allow a rapist to sue their victim’s doctor.
In addition, more than 370 members of the Texas legal community, including city, county and state officials, sent an open letter to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and members of the House urging that they vote against SB 8. Specifically, the open letter stated, “This exceptionally broad cause of action and the almost unlimited array of potential defendants is inconsistent with the Texas Constitution’s minimum requirements to maintain a civil legal action in Texas.”
HB 1280 is an extreme bill that would ban abortion in Texas with few exceptions, while also subjecting doctors to criminal and civil penalties and disciplinary actions. This bill would take effect upon the 30th day after either the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade or a Constitutional Amendment is ratified to allow states to prohibit abortions. It is what is known as a “trigger law.”
Statement of Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
“Pushing forward the most extreme abortion bans in the country is a purely political move that is not supported by the majority of Texans. Instead of prioritizing COVID-19 relief and our failed energy grid, certain members of the Texas House are wasting precious time and resources on trying to score cheap political points. This is not leadership. This is legislators ignoring the needs of everyday Texans in order to serve their own self-interests.
“These bills are part of a nationwide, extremist strategy to ban abortion by pushing access to care completely out of reach. The same politicians who have created medically unnecessary barriers to abortion access are also ignoring the real health needs of Texans, such as Medicaid expansion and addressing Black maternal mortality. We know what happens when politicians push abortion care even further out of reach — Black and Brown communities face the greatest consequences. Texas politicians advancing these dangerous bills should be ashamed of themselves for playing politics with people’s lives. Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for reproductive health care access for all of us because Texans deserve better than this failed leadership.”
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.