Roe v. Wade wounded in Texas
Update 10/7: On Wednesday, a federal judge issued an order blocking Texas’s six-week abortion ban. US District Court Judge Robert Pitman temporarily stopped courts from hearing cases against anyone involved in an abortion. This is an important step in the fight to defend Roe v. Wade. Now, the case will be heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Original post below
The Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to go into effect banning abortion at six weeks—before many women even realize they’re pregnant. But it gets worse. The law allows anyone—from an anti-choice family member to a neighbor with a grudge—to sue someone involved in an abortion, such as a doctor or receptionist, and receive $10,000 or more in damages.
Abortion providers in Texas asked the Supreme Court to block the law, but the Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect. The results will be dire: The threat of vigilante lawsuits has already forced clinics to close. Heroic providers stayed up late into the night, providing care before the law went into effect. Women will now have to travel out of state to access abortion care or turn to dangerous unsafe methods.
Texas’s anti-abortion crusade is already driving women out of the state for abortion care. According to Planned Parenthood, “clinics in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada saw 129 patients from Texas between March 23 and April 14, compared with 16 Texas patients during the entire month of February, a 706% increase.” For women who can afford the trip, abortion care might remain in reach—but for poor women, Texas’ policies could force them to carry a pregnancy they do not want.
We’ve seen what happens when restrictive abortion laws empower citizens to go after someone who’s had an abortion. In Zambia, our client Naomi served more than a year in prison after a friend turned her in for an unsafe abortion.
“It was 7pm and I was sleeping when I was woken up by torches,” she told us. “I heard a knock at the door and then the noise of people in my house. That’s when they took me to the police station.”
At 21 years old, Naomi was separated from her young daughter and thrown in prison. Her boyfriend refused to visit her, and her family visited only rarely. When she was finally released, Naomi knew she couldn’t risk another unplanned pregnancy, and turned to MSI for contraception. But the year of her life lost to restrictive abortion bans could not be replaced.
We stand in solidarity with women in Texas who are impacted by these harmful policies. In the face of an emboldened opposition, we’ll keep working towards a world where everyone has the right to choose.