Senate Bill 8’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy reminds us of the lack of respect and decency women in Texas have and continue to recieve


Pop quiz! Which of the following does Gov. Greg Abbott think should be heavily regulated: guns, masks, or women’s reproductive rights? If you answered ‘guns’ or ‘masks’ you would be wrong. The correct answer is ‘women’s reproductive rights’. 

Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8) came into effect Sept. 1 of this year, effectively reminding women in Texas of how few rights they have and how little respect or human decency they are being given. Every line read of S.B. 8 was a tighter pull on the chains wrapped around my torso and the support it received was the final turn of the key in the lock. 

For those that do not know, S.B. 8 made abortions after the six-week mark and presence of cardiac activity in a pregnancy illegal. Because the timer starts ticking from the last menstrual period, that six-week mark sits at an actual two or fewer weeks after a missed menstrual period, which is normally the first clue to a potential pregnancy. This of course is disregarding the fact that the natural variation between periods can exceed two weeks, leaving women surpassing the deadline before even knowing of their pregnancy. The cardiac activity that could be detected can include electrical activity that occurs in developing cells around six weeks’ gestation and a ‘fetal heartbeat’, which is not a real medical term because there is no heart at that stage of development. To put such a restrictive time slot to identify a pregnancy is setting women up for complications, as most do not know they are pregnant by the time they have surpassed the six weeks. Furthermore, assuming a pregnancy is identified before the six-week mark, making the decision and scheduling an appointment is a lengthy process and is one that would take much longer than allowed before becoming illegal. 

To make matters worse, S.B. 8 invites lawsuits against anyone performing or abetting an abortion and these lawsuits can be made by anyone. So for example, according to S.B. 8, if a woman goes to get an abortion and needs to take an Uber to the clinic, the medical professional performing the abortion, the Uber driver, and any friend or individual who told the woman about the clinic or somehow helped her obtain the abortion can all be sued. Even if someone had no clue someone was getting an abortion, they “should have known” and can face legal consequences. If a woman falls pregnant through rape or incest, there are no exceptions and the woman could end up having to pay her rapist up to $10 thousand. S.B. 8 is forcing pregnancies, regardless of context of the conception, age of the woman or personal needs for the abortion unless the state finds it to be a medical emergency.  

This bill makes me, for lack of better words, disgusted. Women have been fighting for rights for decades and people thinking it is anything but barbaric to take away what should be considered some of a woman’s basic rights is appalling. Especially when taking into consideration that most of those who voted for this bill were men, who do not have women’s reproductive organs nor have experienced being a woman and the stigmas, issues, and lack of respect that comes with it. To believe that men have a say in what a woman does, especially regarding her body and the sacrifices she must make for a pregnancy, is honestly one of the most abhorrent ideals I have ever come across. 

Many may think that I have no reason to be so upset about this- that S.B. 8 does not affect me. I beg to differ. Though the possibility of a woman in high school needing an abortion are low, in the past few years I have known or heard of girls my age who fell pregnant and had to get an abortion or had a pregnancy scare and needed to start looking at their options. As I plan to attend college I know this number will undoubtedly rise and if I attend a Texas university, the situation becomes exponentially more dire. To think that any of them would essentially be forced to carry to full term now or risk their lives trying to get an abortion on their own makes me sick to my stomach. With this bill, women would also be isolated in a time they arguably need others the most. Nobody should have to go through something as difficult as an abortion alone and knowing that if they confided in another for help they could face legal repercussions. Best stated by Ben Affleck in the movie ‘Argo’, “You don’t want to need one, but when you do, you don’t do it yourself.”

Women fought and continue to fight for the right to choose. This bill is not letting women choose for themselves- Abbott is choosing for them. After decades of fighting we got Roe v. Wade, identifying the right to choose as a constitutional right. S.B. 8 is denying us of that (The US Department of Justice has since filed a lawsuit challenging the bill, knowing that it is entirely unconstitutional). Forcing a pregnancy to be carried, especially at the detriment of the mother, should be the illegal act, not abortion. As women continue to fight for their right to choose, I ask you to think about this: would you rather live in a state where anyone can easily purchase a gun without a permit and carry it on them nearly everywhere or where a woman cannot privately get an abortion if she needs one? The message sent by the passage of S.B. 8 is clear- this is a war on women.