New Texas abortion restriction undermines Roe v. Wade

Vaishnavi Nannapaneni

The most restrictive abortion law in America began as the clock struck midnight on Sept. 2,  in Texas. 


On May 19, 2021, Texas passed the harshest abortion ban, the Texas Heartbeat Act. This act states that as soon as a heartbeat is detected in the fetus the abortion cannot take place. A woman will not be allowed to get an abortion under any circumstance if they have been pregnant for longer than six weeks even as a result of rape, incest, and if the mother will be killed. This bill is a way to find a way to restrict Roe vs Wade.


Roe v. Wade was a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled abortion bans as unconstitutional. Jane Roe sued Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County in Texas, challenging the abortion laws. As Oyez puts it, “In her lawsuit, Roe alleged that the state laws were unconstitutionally vague and abridged her right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.” This case paved the way for women to have the freedom to do what they wanted to their bodies. It allowed them to make decisions that were best for them without the fear of breaking the law. Women from around the country battled for their right to their own body and now they are doing it again.


The new Texas law is a way to limit the protection that Roe v. Wade gives to women wanting abortions. Additionally, the law also made it possible for private citizens anywhere around the country to sue any Texan involved with a woman getting an abortion after six weeks. “The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, and even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants,” an article in The New York Times writes. People can sue a person for up to $10,000. These citizens cannot sue the patient herself but can sue anyone affiliated with her getting an abortion. “If this was a criminal ban, we’d know what this is and what we can and cannot do,’ Dr. Rubino said. ‘But this ban has civil implications. It requires a lawyer to go to court. It requires lawyers’ fees. And then $10,000 if we don’t win. What happens if everybody is sued, not just me? said Dr. Jessica Rubino, a doctor at Austin Women’s Health Center, in the same article from The New York Times.


The supreme court decided on Sept. 2  in a 5-4 ruling that they will not block the new Texas abortion law Chief Justice John Roberts and three other liberal justices were overruled. This order has not ruled whether or not the Texas law is unconstitutional, but they have decided to put a pause on their decision. Meaning that the law is still in place and is active right now. Justice Sonia Sotomayor who was against the Texas ban says, “The court’s order is stunning. …A majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.”


This abortion ban is a direct attack on low-income women. The heart bill makes it so that a woman must gather abortion money before this six-week period. This can make it difficult because it can take some time for women of a lower income to gather the necessary money. This ban can lead to other states thinking they can pass a Senate 8 Bill as well. Ohio has already passed the Heartbeat act which could lead to harsher restrictions on a woman and her body. This ban is an attack on any one who is capable of getting pregnant.