Similar laws in other states have been consistently struck down by federal courts
AUSTIN, TX — Today, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund condemned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas state legislature for passing a dangerous law that would effectively outlaw abortion throughout the state. Effective Sept. 1, Senate Bill 8 bans abortion at approximately six weeks—before most people even know they are pregnant, with no exceptions for rape or incest. The law also includes a first-of-its-kind and private cause-of-action provision that allows anyone from any state to sue an abortion provider and other individuals who help or intend to help a patient obtain care.
The majority of Texans support access to safe and legal abortion. But that has not stopped legislators from imposing the slew of medically unnecessary abortion restrictions already in effect in Texas, including a 24-hour waiting period for most patients and mandatory sonograms. Gov. Abbott’s decision to sign one of the harshest abortion bans in the country into law is the latest in a rash of politically-motived efforts to end abortion access in the state. It comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s announcement that it will consider a Mississippi case challenging a ban on abortion after 15 weeks—a direct challenge to Roe v Wade.
Six-week bans on abortion have been enjoined by courts in every other state that has passed such legislation, with courts acknowledging that these bills amount to unconstitutional bans on abortion before viability. So far this year, legislators across the country introduced more than 500 bills that attack or undermine abortion access and reproductive freedom.
Statement from Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:
“Politicians in the Texas Legislature, at the urging of Gov. Greg Abbott, have passed one of the most extreme bills in the country by banning abortion at six weeks. For a person with a normal menstrual cycle, that is only two weeks after a missed period. When you factor in the time it takes to confirm a pregnancy, consider your options and make a decision, schedule an appointment and comply with all the restrictions politicians have already put in place for patients and providers, a six-week ban essentially bans abortion outright.
“The Texas Legislature is wildly out-of-touch with the majority of Texans who have made it clear that they oppose extreme abortion restrictions. Yet, rather than pass Medicaid expansion, address the electricity grid, or provide any substantive COVID-19 relief, state politicians have prioritized attacking trans kids, carrying handguns without a license, restricting voting rights, and banning critical health care. This session has been one of the most cruel and disappointing displays of political opportunism in recent memory. And it’s everyday Texans, especially Black and brown Texans, who will suffer the consequences. Planned Parenthood will do everything it can to protect its patients and people’s access to essential reproductive health care — and that includes holding Abbott and state legislators accountable at the ballot box. Our movement knows how to withstand even the toughest attacks, and this moment is no different. We will continue the fight, no matter what.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“It is appalling that in defiance of public opinion and public health, state politicians remain committed to controlling our bodies. With its private cause-of-action provision, this bill is one of the most extreme in the country and sets a dangerous precedent. Gov. Abbott and his anti-health care allies are not alone in completely botching the response to the pandemic and using attacks on our fundamental rights to avoid addressing real issues. With more than 500 abortion restrictions introduced this year alone and the Supreme Court’s decision to consider Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, it’s clear that since Roe, access to abortion has never been more at risk. The goal is clear: to relentlessly attack our reproductive rights until abortion is a right in name only. Passing these bills is not leadership, it is cruelty and extremism.”
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.