Trouble In Texas

Texas’s cleverly written ‘Heartbeat Bill’ unfairly restricts abortions

Izak Zeller (he/him), Staff Writer

The Texas Heartbeat Bill is an unfair abortion law that went into effect on Wednesday, September 1st. Being one of the most restrictive in the country, the bill outlaws abortions after cardiac activity within the fetus is identified. The law does not make exceptions for rape or incest. 

Cardiac activity typically occurs after the 6th week of pregnancy. 

“It would amount to an outright ban on abortions, as the six-week cutoff is two weeks after a missed menstrual cycle,” according to Shannon Najmabadi at The Texas Tribune. After a missed menstrual cycle, which typically occurs after four weeks, a person has two weeks to take a pregnancy test, decide how to proceed with their pregnancy, then obtain an ultrasound and an abortion.

This is simply not enough time. Many people don’t even know they are pregnant by the six-week mark. 

“Many may not track their periods carefully, may have irregular cycles, or may not know the exact date of the start of their last period,” according to Roni Caryn Rabin at the New York Times. How can a person suspect they are pregnant if they don’t even realize they have missed their menstrual cycle? 

If an abortion is performed after a heartbeat is detected, the abortion provider or anybody who assists them can be sued in a civil action lawsuit for ‘wrongful death’ and receive $10,000 in damages.

Other states passed similar bills, but Texas’s bill is unique. Instead of the state enforcing the law, private citizens can. 

“Family members, abortion funds, rape crisis counselors and other medical professionals could be open to lawsuits, under the broad language in the bill,” according to Shannon Najmabadi at The Texas Tribune. 

This doesn’t just mean the person who received the abortion can sue, it means anyone can, including people who have no ties to the abortion that took place. The person who impregnated them is not related to the abortion.

Usually, when an unfair abortion law passes, the state can be sued because they enforce the law. With the heartbeat bill though, there is no one to sue. This makes it next to impossible to attack in court and abortion providers have to sit and wait to be sued.

The Texas Heartbeat Bill is a law that puts severe restrictions on abortion into place. If people don’t notice they missed a period, they can’t get an abortion. If they don’t recognize their condition in time, they can’t get an abortion. If they don’t rush their pregnancy decision, they can’t get an abortion. Anybody who assists them can be sued by an unrelated party for $10,000. The state found a loophole and they won’t be held responsible for their own law. Who knows what other states may follow.