The Supreme Court has allowed a draconian ban on most abortions to go into effect in Texas and LGBTQ people are speaking out against it.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed S.B. 8 this past May, which allowed anyone in the state to sue for a $10,000 bounty if they think someone has carried out an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy or even helped in the procurement of an abortion, like an Uber driver who takes a patient to a clinic.
People often don’t know they’re pregnant before the sixth week – one group estimates that 85% of abortions in Texas occur after the sixth week – and the law violates Supreme Court precedent set in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that blocks states from banning abortion before the fetus is viable, which happens around the 24th week of pregnancy.
Moreover, the law was written to make it harder to sue to overturn it. The law says that anyone in the state can sue over an abortion to get the bounty… except for state officers. This is because lawsuits challenging a law as unconstitutional are written to nominally target a state office-holder so that the constitutional questions can be brought up before the law goes into effect. But here, there is no state officer who can be sued.
Whole Woman’s Health and other plaintiffs tried suing a Texas judge, since judges will have to preside over the civil lawsuits. The trial court allowed the lawsuit to move forward, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – which is conservative – ordered the trial court not to take the case.
The Supreme Court refused to act on an emergency request to delay the law while it’s challenged in court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, meaning that it goes into effect today. Reproductive health clinics that provide abortions in Texas have mostly stopped performing abortions after the sixth week because of the law, although they still might get inundated with lawsuits that are expensive to defend.
The tactic of allowing private residents – and only private residents – to sue to enforce a law so that it’s harder to challenge in court now has the tacit approval of the Supreme Court and could be replicated by other states that want to effectively ban most abortions and even used in other areas.
The rights to control one’s own body, to create a family on one’s own terms, and to have access to health care have all been central to the LGBTQ equality movement, so LGBTQ people are speaking out about the Supreme Court’s actions here and S.B. 8.
Texas anti abortion law has been allowed to go into effect. This is a disaster for women. It means the end of abortion in half the US is coming soon.
It also means the end of trans health care, for both teens and adults, in those same states is coming as well.
— Cassandra of Troy (@BrynnTannehill) September 1, 2021
I guaran-fucking-tee you that by tomorrow, rich white parents will be getting mephipristone from out of state so their daughters who got knocked up this summer aren’t still pregnant at homecoming.
Abortion is banned for the poor. The rich and hypocritical will find a way. https://t.co/iDj2cSjzVr
— Former Manic Pixie Dream Girl (@RebekahWriter) September 1, 2021
What Texas has devised is a bizarre, dystopian vigilante system for hunting women in Texas who seek abortions. A vigilante system to effectively ban abortion and shut down all abortion providers in the state, not to mention terrorizing women who are seeking the procedure. pic.twitter.com/vfhtPy7AKR
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) September 1, 2021
Republican male politicians seeking to overturn Roe will still arrange for abortions for women in their lives, regardless of what happens to Roe.
Those stories will continue to come out, and much of the country will shrug in response with “We are all sinners in the eyes of God.”
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 1, 2021
Man, SCOTUS letting that Texas anti-abortion law go into effect is *extremely* worrisome. The law was meant to be a pretty blatant challenge to Roe, and for SCOTUS to just let it go into effect… absolutely chilling.
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) September 1, 2021
BREAKING: Last night, SCOTUS failed to stop Texas’ highly controversial abortion bill, a near-total ban on abortion in the state. We stand with Texans and reproductive rights advocates against Senate Bill 8.
Our lawyers will issue a statement. Stay tuned. https://t.co/aPpaPlKaG0
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) September 1, 2021
This non-action by #SCOTUS is devastating for abortion access in the country’s second most populous state – and for the millions of women in Texas that rely on safe and reliable access to reproductive health service.
A full thread below ⬇️ https://t.co/9HXddXJefQ
— NCLR – National Center for Lesbian Rights (@NCLRights) September 1, 2021
Texas needs a blue governor in 2022. Hope @BetoORourke runs to take down Abbott! That would be our best shot at fixing things.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) September 1, 2021
We need more US Senators who get that knot that we get in our stomachs every time the Supreme Court is in session, because you aren’t sure which one of your basic rights could be taken away or up for debate.
We need more Senators with skin in the game.
— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@malcolmkenyatta) September 1, 2021