Texas Passes Bill That Blocks Abortion

A look into Texas abortion block that bans abortion after six weeks


Elaine Thimyan

The advancement of technology detects the flutter but the embryo’s heart won’t form until the 9th to 12th week.

Elaine Thimyan, Reporter

On Wednesday, Sept. 1, Texas passed Senate Bill 8, or SB 8, otherwise known as the new law that bans abortion in the state. The law, which immediately went into effect, bans abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. The issue arises when taking into consideration that most women only discover or confirm their pregnancy from week 4-7, which is a very short time period to make a decision and go through with an abortion. The bill also doesn’t allow abortions in terms of rape or incest. 

The Supreme Court, with a 5-4 decision, decided not to block the ban. This doesn’t mean the Supreme Court is supporting the ban, but as of right now, they will not temporarily block it.

However, the bill is not invincible, as the statement that the five justices wrote in their statement that it “in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts.” In other words, it states that any court can challenge the law if it sees fit. This case is hard to combat because of the way it was written, which according to Texas lawyers was done on purpose for this very reason. Bryan Hughes is the lawyer behind this bill, along with Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell. Hughes is also the author of the “Heartbeat Act.” By titling an act with “Heartbeat”, medical professionals worry that it misinforms people about the heart’s development at six weeks.

At six weeks, the cells that will eventually form the heart group together just enough to send electrical signals. The advancement of technology detects the flutter but the embryo’s heart won’t form until the 9th to 12th week. Dr. Michael Cackovic, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, says “It’s not a heartbeat, it’s the motion of the neural cells going up and down tubes in an embryo.” He also clarifies that an embryo is declared a fetus at eight weeks. 

Another part of why this bill is so tricky is that state officials or other authorities won’t be implementing the ban. Rather, public citizens can sue abortion providers or even an Uber involved in it. The term is called “Qui Tam Statutes” which means a private citizen, or a realtor, can prosecute a lawsuit and collect a $10,000 reward, not including money gained if they would win a conviction. This has caused the emergence of anonymous websites where anyone can tell information about someone they suspect is getting an abortion. Lawyers across the country, regardless of viewpoint, have said the writing of the bill is ‘clever’ because of the loophole that private citizens are upholding the law. 

As suspected, the outrage across the country has been huge. Women’s and other pro-choice marches have taken place in Texas and other more conservative states where people are watching with cautious eyes to see if their state will follow in Texas’s footsteps. 

The new law will definitely be in the spotlight as tensions grow between the celebratory pro-life side mixing with the new-kindled passion and anger of the people for pro-choice laws.  

As of recent developments, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on Sept. 9 that the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to prevent SB 8 from being enforced saying it is “clearly unconstitutional.” The law would prevent not only the state but private individuals from lawsuits against people seeking abortions.