Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law in May of this year legislation that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, according to the Independent. Independent describes how this ultimately challenges the case of Roe v. Wade – which protects a woman’s qualified right to have an abortion, ending the case in the state. This case, which had been in place since 1973, is now being undercut by this new legislation.
According to the Independent, the law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected–often before many women know they are pregnant–and prohibits medical professionals from performing an abortion if they can detect a fetal heartbeat.
The law went into effect Sept. 1, after the Supreme Court declined to block it, according to the Texas Tribune. Furthermore, according to the Tribune, not only can medical professionals be sued for not following the law, but so can anyone who participates in any way in the process of the abortion. In my opinion, it is unethical for citizens to face the consequences of perhaps unintentionally aiding in any way an abortion that is deemed illegal under this law. Anyone from a driver to a person who provides financial assistance could be sued.
I believe that this is truly the most unfair abortion law that has been put in place. According to NPR, an abortion provider or anyone who aids in the abortion process can be sued by private individuals, who may be awarded at least $10,000 if the suit is found to be successful. To incentivize finding and prosecuting those who have provided or aided an abortion that violates the state law, Texas Right to Life, a pro-life organization, has created a whistleblower website where people can submit anonymous tips about anyone they believe has violated the law, according to the NPR article.
As I was reading about this new law, the Red Scare and the Salem Witch Trials both came to my mind. Of course, these three situations are extremely different and complex, but they have one important similarity: they are all witch hunts; furthermore, a dangerous kind of vigilantism.
For example, an Uber or Lyft driver, who is simply driving a woman that is possibly seeking an abortion that violates this law to a clinic or hospital, can be sued. This is unfair. How is the Uber driver to know why this rider wants to go to the clinic or hospital? In fact, the Uber driver could be personally opposed to abortion but the driver would have no way of knowing that the passenger plans to have an abortion.
For the state’s legislators to pass such a law is completely unethical in my opinion. Now, someone fully funding an abortion is completely different in this case in comparison to those who honestly had no clue what was happening or if someone was actually having an abortion. It can make those who are simply trying to make a living from their ordinary jobs be persecuted for doing their own job. From drivers to receptionists, volunteers to family members, anyone can have a finger pointed at them and face the extremes of this new law.