On Wednesday night, the Supreme Court failed to protect women across the nation. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the “fetal heartbeat” bill in May 2019 and, on Sept. 1, the law became effective. The Supreme Court could have blocked the anti-abortion law but failed to do so with a 5-4 vote, forcing clinics across Texas to cancel appointments and turn people away. With this apparent negligence of the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution, other states can find comfort that their anti-abortion bills will no longer be blocked.
The new law prohibits abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected — which is around six weeks of gestation, meaning the six weeks start after the last menstrual cycle, not once a pregnancy test is taken and the pregnancy is confirmed. It can take up to four weeks for pregnancy to occur, leaving two weeks for women to get the pregnancy confirmed and get the abortion. Also, there are no exceptions to this new law as in previous ones.
Interestingly, the new law allows private individuals to sue anyone involved in the process of helping someone get an abortion. For example, a ride-share driver for Lyft or Uber could be sued along with the provider. Even more disheartening: if the lawsuit is successful, the person who initiated the lawsuit will receive at least $10,000, encouraging people to become bounty hunters.
Other states such as Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri, have also created similar legislation. In the past, that legislation has been blocked by the federal courts, but who is to say that it will be blocked if they try again?
Currently, in Ohio, Senate Bill 123, or SB 123, is being reviewed by the Ohio Senate Health Committee. SB 123, also known as the “Human Life Protection Act,” is a bill that will ban all abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Based on the precedent the Supreme Court has set with the ruling of the Texas anti-abortion law, it is no wonder legislators feel so comfortable as to create a trigger bill.
This new law further creates inequality in the health care system, as people’s access is being stripped. Forcing women to carry a baby for 36 to 40 weeks creates a litany of mental, physical and economic problems. Pregnancy puts people out of work, requiring them to go on maternity leave and stay home. If they are of a lower economic background, this is not feasible. On top of that, pregnancy can deteriorate someone’s mental health, as their body goes through changes. The physical changes also need to be considered, as women’s organs are squished to accommodate a growing uterus.
The failure of the Supreme Court to protect women’s rights proves the U.S. is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to equality. Anti-abortion laws across the nation need to be stopped, but this new Supreme Court ruling only adds fuel to the fire. Women’s rights need to be protected and, right now, people need to come together to protect those in Texas.
Iana Fields is a senior studying English creative writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Iana? Tweet her @FieldsIana.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.