Abortion, Bounties, & an Authoritarian Texas GOP

The Texas GOP’s Assault on Women & Freedom Continue

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

As a proud Texan, I find myself writing far too often about the failing state of Texas’ society due to the harmful policies of the Texas GOP. Unfortunately, I have another law to add to my list today.

At midnight on Wednesday, the most restrictive abortion law in the nation went into effect in Texas. It will have lasting impacts on women’s lives. And it is a deeply dangerous bill that gives anti-choice advocates carte blanche to ruin a woman’s life simply for making a personal health choice.

What does the bill say?

  • Prohibits abortion 6 weeks after a woman’s last period (most women don’t know they’re pregnant until 4-7 weeks)
  • There are no exceptions for incest or rape
  • Allows anyone to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion (including Uber drivers, healthcare workers, family members)
  • Gives private citizens the right to intervene and sue (allowing state officials to get around their responsibilities)
  • The law is designed to make it nearly impossible to strike down in court

The law is dangerous because it goes against 48 years of precedent from Roe v. Wade and it incites vigilantism against average Texas women. This law allows any random person off the street to sue you, your family, your friends, your doctor, your Uber driver, etc. if you choose to have an abortion no matter if it affects the random person in any way. Please name one law that allows you to do this for any other “crime.” Even a mass shooter’s Uber driver is protected.

Texas poised to ban most abortions as court denies emergency motion |  Abortion | The Guardian

Women Deserve Personal Freedoms Too

What is so frustrating about the law is how it contrasts against all of the “personal liberties” talks on the right. According to Greg Abbott, it is not the government’s role to protect children from a deadly disease in publicly funded schools, but it is the government’s job to tell a woman when she can and cannot have a child.

Women have consistently been told by men with no knowledge about how women’s bodies work what they can and cannot do to their bodies.

So let’s set the record straight. For non-reproducing readers, there is a lot that goes into knowing that you are pregnant.

  • First, the law is based on 6 weeks after your last period. So let’s say you become pregnant the week after your period. That means at the moment of conception, you are already “2-3 weeks pregnant”
  • There is no magic symptom or notification that tells you when you're pregnant
  • The most common way women know they are pregnant is when they miss their next period. The earliest you could possibly know is after 4-5 weeks.
  • You can miss your period for other reasons like stress and over-exercising so even if you miss it, you might not know
  • Early pregnancy symptoms are the same symptoms as having your period
  • Pregnancy tests are less accurate if you take them before your missed period. Aka it could take 4-7 weeks before you can take a test.
  • Morning sickness usually doesn’t show itself until 5-7 weeks.
  • Most doctors won’t let you come in to confirm you are pregnant until 8-12 weeks after conception

So based on those stats, this is effectively a total ban on abortion. You would have to be paying extremely close attention and have the time to plan and schedule an abortion within days of finding out you’re pregnant. (and to the men that say a woman should know, how busy is your life these days? Do you track every symptom in your body?)

And as is always the case, this law disproportionately impacts women of color and lower-income Texans. A Texas GOP’s mistress can still get an abortion because you can always find a way when you have money, but a fast-food worker with no savings cannot.

At a time when having children is unaffordable for most lower and middle-class women, abortion bans are not only unnecessary but extremely cruel. Wages have stayed the same for decades, but the cost of child care, healthcare, food, etc. have skyrocketed.

If the GOP thinks family values are so important, they shouldn’t be banning abortions. They should be passing laws that make childcare affordable, offer paid family leave, universal free preschool, expand the child tax credit, and more. Luckily, the Build Back Better bill does just that.

Americans Don’t Want This

An overwhelming majority of Americans (7 in 10) believe abortion should remain legal and accessible.

It’s also important to note that difficult choices in pregnancy are far more common than you think. Because it’s a taboo subject, most women don’t share if they’ve had an abortion. But you most likely know someone who has.

  • 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage (1 million a year)
  • 11.3% of pregnancies end in abortion (650K a year)

Failure of the Courts

Perhaps the greatest impact of this law is the naked partisanship the Supreme Court just showed.

The Supreme Court had a chance to stop the law from going into effect at midnight on Wednesday, but they chose to ignore it and silently watch as the minutes ticked by.

This bill is clearly unconstitutional and a reasonable Supreme Court would have intervened.

  1. It goes against the precedent of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that gave women the right to end their pregnancies before viability, and that made sure states may not impose undue burdens
  2. The law encourages vigilantism and could lead to intimidation and harassment of private citizens

This is one of the most blatant indications of the right-wing takeover of the court. The current court is split 6-3 with a conservative majority. That includes three conservative justices that were appointed by a twice impeached President who lost the popular vote by 2.9 million. Mitch McConnel and the GOP did everything they could to bend the rules so that they could achieve a clear majority and begin to roll back progress in our country. He succeeded and this decision to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade in Texas is just the beginning.

Take Action

How do you channel your anger when we’re still a year and a half away from elections, you ask?

  • Donate! - the most direct way to support frustrated Texans is to donate to Texas Abortion Funds that will help Texans pay for the abortion care they need and cover legal fees. 

    • Donate here - your contribution will go to 10 local organizations

  • Volunteer - do you work in tech?  Do you use your downtime to silently scream while scrolling through Twitter? I have a solution for you!

    • Tech for Campaigns is recruiting volunteers to support Democratic campaigns on their website development, email marketing, digital ads, and analytics. 

    • It’s a great way to directly support candidates for a few hours a week with your specific skills.

    • Texas will need our help more than ever next year! Sign up for email alerts so you can join a 6-8 week project that’s right for you.

  • Learn - the Supreme Court is on a dangerous trajectory to enable minority rule in our country. Learn more about the possibilities of court reform.

🗼🗞: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist who’s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.

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