Texas Heartbeat Act raises controversy

Texas Heartbeat Act raises controversy

On May 19th, 2021, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed the Heartbeat Act into Texas law. This act states that starting six weeks after conception, a woman in Texas cannot get an abortion. There is no exception to embryos produced by rape, incest, or financial incapability of the parents. 

This six-week restriction is problematic to many. A woman’s menstrual cycle is generally spaced apart by four-week long intervals, so by the time a woman misses her period, if she even notices, she will only have two weeks to make a difficult and life-changing decision. It could be difficult for a person to raise the necessary $825 to $2,500 to pay for the abortion within this time period.                                                             

Democratic Chairman of Bergen County and Woodcliff resident, Paul Juliano, voiced his opinions, saying, “The blatantly unconstitutional Texas law (SB 8) not only bans abortion before many women even know they are pregnant, and even in cases of rape and inces​​t, it’s also dangerous. It creates a cruel vigilante system to intimidate individuals, especially the most vulnerable in our communities, from seeking the essential health care they need.”

Since the Heartbeat Act refuses any exceptions for rape or incest, many women will be constantly reminded of what they went through. Some argue that the bill restricts the choice of keeping the baby or not.  The mother will always have to look at what is usually a happy milestone as a constant reminder of what she went through. 

An anonymous Hills freshman spoke about their thoughts on the matter saying, “A woman’s life is altered the minute she has a baby, no matter what she decides to do with it. Having the option to not have to take on that responsibility when you are not ready is crucial for women”.

This could also cause many expectant mothers to turn to dangerous options, such as getting an abortion from someone that isn’t properly trained or harming themself. 

While some other states have passed similar bans, the Texas abortion is unique for a specific reason. Instead of state officials, everyday individuals are encouraged to file lawsuits against women who receive an abortion or anyone who might be involved in helping her.

Typically, lawmakers have been targeted with lawsuits by protestors who do not believe that these officials have the jurisdiction to generate these laws. When protestors felt that this law was unconstitutional, it was harder for them to target these officials since they are not the ones enforcing it. If they wanted to sue citizens that accused them, it would be a much smaller case, and not federal. This minimizes the  significance of these charges. 

The consequences of violating the Heartbeat Act could be a minimum fee of $10,000 for anyone who provided money, transportation, medical attention to a woman seeking an abortion. 

Many activists believe that women should be in control of their own body, so Greg Abbot, Texas’s governor, and his new law, generate controversy throughout the country. Protestors argue that since Abbot has not experienced any of these situations he should not be the one in charge of the issue.

Freshman Emma O’Flaherty Wicklund says that “Every woman deserves to make the choice for herself.  What you believe should not affect me, my body, or my right to choose what I will do with my body.”

As of Thursday, October 7th, because of an emergency request from the Justice Department, the Texas Heartbeat Act has been put on hold. This was after the Texas Government was sued last month for the same issue. 

For more information on this history of abortion and the new Texas law, visit the links below…







Photo Credits:

Sergio Flores/AFP via Getty Images