Senate Bill 8: The New Law Breaches the Old One

Isabella Goates, Pawprint Staff Reporter

Senate Bill 8 was passed on September 1st, 2021 by Texas and the Supreme Court.Senate Bill 8 is the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. today. It prohibits women from getting abortions by week six. Week six is significant because it is when most doctors can hear the embryonic heartbeat of the fetus, but it is also a time where most women don’t even know that they are pregnant. This makes it almost impossible for women to get an abortion in Texas. SB 8 also punishes accomplices (taxi drivers, commuters, etc.) and doctors who enact an abortion for a woman.

Senate Bill 8 was forged by Texas’s state government in 2019. It passed just this year, going through the Supreme Court even though it defied Roe v. Wade, the law that makes it possible for any woman to get an abortion legally, without involvement from the government.

Senate Bill 8 is a heartbeat law, meaning that it prohibits women from getting abortions when a doctor can hear the embryonic heartbeat of the fetus. The embryonic heartbeat, though, is not even a heartbeat, nor is the fetus a living, breathing baby with a heart.

Many laws have been clawing through the Supreme Court, trying to defy Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade was a law put in place to protect a woman’s abortions rights without interference from the government. It was an act of privacy and protection for women. Laws trying to rebel against Roe v. Wade are called “trigger” laws, or laws that haven’t been passed but are there just in case the Supreme Court decides to make abortions illegal again.

“They express a legislative intent to ban all or most abortions as soon as it’s legally and constitutionally possible to do so,” said Florida State University College of Law professor Mary Ziegler.

The Arkansas chapter of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) described the trigger laws coming into their state as an “extreme and unnecessary attack on women and their health.”

Utah is one of the states with a trigger law and an at-risk state for passing a bill similar to the one of Texas’s Senate Bill 8.

One of the most threatening abortion laws that have been passed, along with Senate Bill 8, is the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds to pay for abortions that are outside of the reasons for rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger. This has affected many people with healthcare like Medicaid and Medicare since they are both federally funded healthcare plans. The Hyde Amendment has been a classist impact on the population of the United States. People in poverty haven’t been allowed to get abortions. But, wealthy people can pay for other healthcare plans that ultimately allow them to get the resources for their abortions.

Senate Bill 8 is a hazard for all women living in Texas, and a calling sign for other states with trigger laws to start trying to pass them through the Supreme Court. If the momentum that Texas has brought on continues, Utah along with other states, may have laws that go against Roe v. Wade and women’s rights.

The Hyde Amendment and Texas’ new law go against the rights that women are owed. Roe v. Wade promises the privacy of a woman’s life and her decision to have a baby or not. Both of these laws go against Roe v. Wade, and both of these laws must be challenged in court and turned down, as they are classist and sexist, and hurt the women of the nation.