Today is the day a horrible anti-abortion law, SB 8, goes into effect. While abortion is still nominally legal in Texas, the goal of SB 8 is to make abortion nearly impossible to obtain in the state.
SB 8 is an extreme abortion ban, banning abortions after six weeks, which is before most people know they are pregnant. As if banning abortion were not enough, the Texas law also empowers any anti-abortion private citizen vigilante to harass patients and providers by suing them for providing abortion care or for helping them access abortion. A Texas-based anti-abortion organization even created an online portal to report violations anonymously. Despite anti-abortionists’ assertions that this does not create a “spy on your neighbor” situation, the only way these allegations will be brought about is actually by spying on people. Reports to law enforcement—from hospital and medical staff, patients’ roommates, family members, and current/ex-partners—about a suspected illegal abortion have a long and awful history in this country.
While North Carolina has not yet passed an abortion bill as extreme as Texas’ SB 8, we’ve seen multiple similar anti-abortion strategies used to restrict access to reproductive health care this past decade, including during the current legislative session:
- HB 453 aims to ban otherwise legal abortions simply because of the possible (personal) reason for the abortion.
- By prohibiting an abortion based on a patient’s reason, HB 453 will block open and honest conversations between the patient, provider, and the patient’s loved ones.
- By punishing providers for violation of HB 453, healthcare professionals may not be able to provide patients with the information they seek, potentially leaving patients feeling isolated and confused.
- HB 453, like North Carolina’s multitude of other medically unnecessary abortion restrictions, is another bill designed to intimidate physicians out of providing abortion care at all, burdening the person seeking the abortion to potentially travel farther and pay more for time-sensitive care.
- During the legislative debate on HB 453, bill proponents made contradictory statements about both the intent and implementation of the law, expanding its potential chilling effect on accessing abortion care.
- Beyond HB 453, the state’s continued diversion of public funds to anti-abortion fake clinics gives these harmful fake clinics a distinct advantage over comprehensive reproductive health care clinics that the North Carolina General Assembly barred from receiving any state (and some private) funds.
Anti-abortion lawmakers in Texas and North Carolina are prioritizing these extremist bills while their states struggle with ongoing COVID-19 surges and all the continuing economic and social disruptions that are part of this global pandemic. Like all anti-abortion policies, these restrictions will impact those struggling to access any kind of healthcare—rural communities, young people, people of lower income, and People of Color—the hardest, communities these same lawmakers often claim to represent when they pass inflammatory and unnecessary abortion restrictions.
We are not powerless against these attacks. Those opposed to reproductive freedom depend on our silence.
Join us in letting lawmakers in North Carolina, Texas, and D.C. know that we support abortion access and reproductive freedom for all, and that we are the majority!
Call your North Carolina House Representative and Senator and tell them to uphold Governor Cooper's veto of the inflammatory anti-abortion HB453. Anti-abortion legislators in the NC General Assembly are still trying to pass this bill, instead of fixing the many actual pressing issues North Carolinians face.
Call your U.S. Representative and U.S Senators and tell them to pass the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA). This federal law would bar states from passing medically unnecessary bans on abortion and ensure more equitable access to abortion in every state.
Speak out in support of abortion access on social media TODAY and stand with Texas! Let people know you stand in solidarity with those seeking abortion care in Texas. Share your pro-choice messages and use the hashtags #BansOffOurBodies, #TxLeg and #TexasPolitics to help spread the word about Texas’ attempt to enact an extreme abortion ban (that also allows anyone to sue people who provide abortions or help someone obtain an abortion).
We will never stop fighting for access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion. Thank you for fighting with us!