If you care about abortion access and value bodily autonomy, you should be concerned that the Texas abortion ban, S.B. 8, went into effect at midnight because the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) did not grant an emergency petition to block the law. S.B. 8 is a six-week abortion ban that also creates a bounty system in which any person can anyone who aids and abets an abortion in Texas. Due to SCOTUS’s inaction (and it could still act — fingers crossed), Texas is the first state to successfully get a six-week abortion ban to take effect. Until TODAY, courts had prevented all similar bans from taking effect. SCOTUS still could issue an order granting the emergency petition to block the law or it could do nothing, which would mean that abortion is banned in Texas and anyone is under threat of a civil lawsuit for aiding and abetting a Texas abortion.
What Does This All Mean?
S.B. 8 is a pre-viability prohibition on abortion, which has been deemed unconstitutional for 50 years. S.B. 8 is particularly nefarious though because of the bounty system that it has created. Texas providers, abortion funds, Uber drivers, family friends sheltering someone who is to get an abortion, etc. are all at risk of defending themselves against a completely garbage lawsuit. Anyone who successfully sues a health center worker, an abortion provider, or any person who helps someone access an abortion after six weeks will be rewarded with at least $10,000, to be paid by the person sued. Lawsuits may be filed against a broad range of people, including a person who drives their friend to obtain an abortion, abortion funds providing financial assistance to patients, health center staff, and even a member of the clergy who assists an abortion patient.
People are genuinely afraid. Providers are having to turn away patients who had appointments scheduled today because of the new gestational ban. The Antis have upped their surveillance ante trying to catch a violation of the law. People will forego the healthcare they need and want because of this law. And other states will be emboldened to follow suit.
What Does This Mean For Rhode Island?
Thankfully, because of your hard work, Rhode Island protected the right to abortion in 2019 by passing the Reproductive Privacy Act. Individuals who live in states that ban abortion will still need and seek out the services. Folks will need to travel to many miles to get the healthcare they need. Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, California, Washington, and Oregon will become abortion safe havens for those living in abortion deserts. The cost of abortion (travel, the procedure, housing, childcare, time off work) will increase exponentially and the need for robust abortion funds will be tremendous. Those with the fewest resources will be the most impacted.
What YOU Can Do
1.) Sign up for notifications about S.B. 8. With our national partners, TWP will keep you apprised on to how you can fight this injustice.
2.) Give what you can to support groups on the ground working to ensure Texans can still get an abortion when they need one. You can donate to 9 abortion funds all at once right here: https://secure.actblue.com/
3.) Help us continue our work to pass the EACA. Your donation today will help us keep up the fight and ensure that, whatever happens on the federal level, Rhode Island is an abortion safe haven for everyone.
It is now more important than ever for Rhode Island to pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, which would eliminate insurance coverage bans for abortion services for Rhode Islanders. It is critical that Rhode Island ensures that all of its residents are able to access affordable abortion. The passage of the EACA would free up tons of funds from abortion funds that could then be distributed to out-of-state folks, undocumented folks, etc. Post-Roe, we will need to help our friends and family living in abortion deserts to afford the abortion care they need.
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