Senate Bill 8, the Texas abortion bill scheduled to go into effect at midnight on September 1, is one of the most toxic, anti-choice, dangerous pieces of legislation to target reproductive healthcare in the country, and this is by design. It authorizes any person to sue someone who provides an abortion after six weeks—a time when most women don’t even know they are pregnant—and incentivizes this activity by awarding a bounty of at least $10,000 for every lawsuit, payable by the provider. Any number of individuals can sue over a single abortion, leading to ruinous penalities and legal costs for healthcare providers.
Millions of Texans already struggle to access reproductive healthcare, and the burden of this bill will fall most heavily on poor, rural, Black and Hispanic Texans, for whom the prospect of going out of state to receive care is not possible.
SB8 goes into effect on the same day as the Texas legislature passes Senate Bill 1, an extreme voter-suppression bill. SB8 is the poisoned fruit of voter suppression: Legislators in heavily gerrymandered districts no longer respond to the will of the people, because they know they won’t be held accountable at the ballot box. Instead of delivering safe and affordable healthcare, excellent public education or a working power grid, they pass dangerous bills like these. This isn’t how democracy works; this is how it dies.
Abortion is legal. Abortion is healthcare. We won’t stand for any back-room midnight attempts to take away protected healthcare from millions of Texans who already struggle. We will be as loud as we have to.