Texas abortion laws spark controversy

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As Texas revokes access to abortion, many across the country protest.

Josh Haefner, Editor

As of September 2021, Texas is the most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to abortion. 

Abortion, the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, has been a hot button issue in the United States since the late 19th century. The debate over abortion eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where the landmark Roe v. Wade decision was made. 

In 1973, Roe v. Wade was passed, which declared that constitutionally, women had the right to have abortions without excessive government interference. 

On Sept. 1, a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks went into effect. Most women do not know they are pregnant yet as of six weeks, which means that the new regulations essentially function as a ban on all abortion in the state of Texas. 

“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said. 

An attempt to block the law failed five to four, which will make it difficult to challenge in court. This law could represent a turning point in discussions regarding abortion rights, as it effectively blocks most abortions without technically violating Roe v. Wade. It implements this by deputizing private citizens to act as enforcers, rather than having the government directly block women from having abortions. 

“It’s a very unique law and it’s a very clever law,”said Constitutional law professor Josh Blackman.  “Planned Parenthood can’t go to court and sue Attorney General Paxton like they usually would because he has no role in enforcing the statute. They have to basically sit and wait to be sued.” 

The law allows citizens to bring up a civil suit against anyone who assists a person in receiving an abortion in violation of the law, which allows the Texas government to enforce the law indirectly by using deputized citizens. 

The law is still applied the same way in cases of rape or incest, with the only exceptions being abortions for health reasons. Governor Abbott said that the Texas government would work to rid the state of rapists. 

“Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets,” Abbot said. 

As of now Texas is still the only state where a law like this one has passed, attempts in several states including Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio were made, however they faced legal challenges and were not implemented. 

“While the federal courts have so far failed to protect Texans, the fight is far from over: Planned Parenthood is doing everything we can to protect our patients’ right to access abortion,” said Planned Parenthood Vice President of Public Policy Helene Krasnoff. 

The effects this law will have on the future of abortion healthcare are unknown as of now, but abortion rights in Texas are now much more limited than anywhere else in the United States.