Probably the most backward legislative move yet
The state of Texas has introduced a troubling anti-abortion law, at the hands of Texas governor Greg Abbott. The newly passed ‘Senate Bill 8’ contains a whole host of regulations to restrict the current legal procedures for abortions taking place after the first trimester. The move comes after a Supreme Court dismissal of anti-abortion measures last June that evidently only strengthened the resolve of the anti-abortion legislators.
First, and perhaps most disturbingly, the bill requires that there must be burial or cremation of foetal remains – otherwise known as ‘foetal funerals’. After the foetuses have been delivered, facilities treating pregnant women will be required to do this for all embryonic and foetal remains. This means that the ruling will not only apply to women undergoing abortions, but also those who miscarry in a medical facility. The law even ludicrously allows for the creation of what is detailed as a “burial or cremation assistance” registry to facilitate and fund the procedures that the abortion clinics will be required to cover.
If that isn’t terrible enough, the law also includes a ban on tissue donation. These are samples that are routinely used for scientific research into cures for diseases, transplants and vaccines. Previously, women could choose to donate tissue, but this law requires all foetal tissue to be contributed to the burial or cremation. Not only that, but this section exclusively applies to women who have had abortions. All other foetal tissue donations will remain legal – exposing the true ‘moral’ overtones and insidiously targeted nature of the legislation.
The bill also bans a process known as dilation and evacuation, mischaracterised on Twitter by Abbott himself as “tearing babies limb from limb”. The procedure is used for 95 per cent of second-term abortions, which make up approximately 11 per cent of all abortion procedures in the States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. This means that, even in cases of rape or incest, the law will essentially ban all abortions after 13 weeks. This is despite the fact that a huge proportion of late-term abortions are a direct result of discovering danger posed to the women having them and/or the foetus. These are the people that will be most affected by the new ruling.
Lastly, in a scarily regressive addition, anyone considered to be assisting in any of the now-banned procedures could face criminal charges and up to two years in prison, including family, friends or physicians.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has already stated in a press release and on social media that the legislation is unconstitutional, and they will seek to fight the law and win, as they have done in the past.
If you’re a Texas resident who is concerned about these new regulations, you can contact your representatives here. You can also reach out to Governor Abbott directly here