TL;DR (3-minute read)
- A strict, 6-week abortion ban came into effect in Texas.
- In order to circumvent the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade (which said that the government cannot intervene in a woman’s choice of whether to keep or abort her baby), this will not be enforced by public officials, but instead by the general public.
- Many states have started to mimic Texas’ ban, which is putting pressure on the Supreme Court to make a decision on whether to override Roe v Wade or not.
- Many Democrats, like President Biden, are against the ban, while many Republicans, like Governor DeSantis of Florida, are supportive of it.
Key Questions to consider:
- What is the recent abortion ban in Texas?
- What does this ban mean for the United States?
- Who supports the ban and who opposes it?
What is the Recent Abortion Ban in Texas?
On September 1st of 2021, a strict abortion ban came into effect in Texas after approval from the Supreme Court. This completely bans abortion as soon as cardiac activity is detectable, which is around 6 weeks, even in cases of rape and incest. It is important to note that this occurs before people are even aware that they are pregnant, which largely makes this a complete ban. To comprehend how this will be enforced, it is also important to understand the Supreme Court case Roe v Wade, which is widely regarded as the most important abortion case in American history. In the early 1970s, debates on the legality of abortion were amplifying. So, in 1973, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 and ruled that abortion is legal and was a woman’s private decision protected by the 14th amendment. So, in order to get around Roe v Wade, Texas decided to enforce this ban, not by punishing women who get abortions by using public officials, but instead penalizing those who assisted in the abortions. These individuals would get penalized by allowing regular citizens to bring civil lawsuits against them, giving the citizens a reward for at least $10,000.
What Does this Law Mean for the United States?
With this law being an effective abortion ban, as well as a loophole around Roe v Wade, it has many impacts on America on a national level. Almost instantly, Republican states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, Indiana, Arkansas, and Florida are aiming to implement a similar ban. Most political scientists also believe that more states will also adopt a similar type of ban in the future. Also, Republican lawmakers are trying to get the Supreme Court (which has been trying to avoid a decision) to override Roe v Wade and believe that with the current conservative majority it is certainly possible. So, as more and more states implement abortion bans, the Supreme Court will get pressured into finally making a decision on whether to override Roe v Wade or not. Many pro-lifers believe that Texas’ abortion law is a great first step to banning abortion nationwide.
Who Supports and Doesn’t Support the Ban?
After the Texas abortion law came into effect, there was widespread support and disapproval of the decision. Many conservatives and Republicans were supportive of the ban, while many liberals and Democrats were not. President Biden was not supportive of the law and called it “almost un-American”. He also said that he and the Justice Department were looking into laws that may question the legality of the ban. Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, also disapproved of the ban and fired at a reporter saying that “[he has] never been pregnant” implying that the reporter shouldn’t have a say in whether a woman gets an abortion or not. On the other side, Florida Governor Desantis believes that the Texas ban is interesting and a good step towards ending abortion in America. Similarly, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson supports the Texas ban and believes that there should be increased support for adoption as an alternative for abortion. Interestingly, former President Trump has stayed quiet on the issue, even though he has publicly said he is pro-life.