The Texas Heartbeat Act was passed through the state legislature in May and another law has been implemented relating to women who seek an abortion.
The Texas Heartbeat Act is one of the nation’s strictest abortion measures and bans women from having an abortion at and after 6 weeks.
But starting on September 1, any person who knows a woman trying to get an abortion for any reason could turn her into authorities and get a cash reward.
The act will enable private citizens to take legal action against private medical companies for giving abortions if a heartbeat is detected. The person who reports it would also be granted $10,000 even if they are not from Texas.
Pro-choice group Women’s March pointed out that nurses, surgery providers, and even friends and family members of women who seek abortions can be sued by private citizens and they are calling for this law to be changed immediately.
This act has raised serious ethical questions and critics are now calling for this law to be changed before it takes effect at the start of September.
In May, Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that bans abortions at or after six weeks, with some exceptions like if it’s a case of a medical emergency for the woman. But the law still applies in cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest.
“Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” Governor Greg said. “In Texas, we work to save those lives, and that’s exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session.”
Meanwhile, a lot of pro-choice people have criticized the legislature.
“Consider the potential for harassment, spying, extortion, and other vengeful behavior directed toward women,” Jennifer Rubi, a Washington Post writer has said. “The law depends on what others know about her reproductive health and are willing to tell the authorities to grab a $10,000 bounty.”
“If they [Republicans] cannot win elections and defend their policy objectives, Republicans appear willing to burn down democratic elections and “equal justice under the law,” Rubi added.
MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid also expressed her disgust on Twitter.
“So now Texas Republicans are putting bounties on pregnant women,” Reid tweeted. “I almost hate to ask what this benighted party will think of next.”
Steve Vladeck, University of Texas professor, told The Washington Post that: “It’s a deeply cynical effort to both (1) chill conduct that ought to be constitutionally protected; and (2) provide cover for judges to find creative ways to dodge the merits of the constitutional challenge.”
According to Fortune, the six-week bans in other states have all been eventually found unlawful as they’ve passed through the legal system.
The differences between the Republicans and Democrats can be shown in this law.
Pro-choice supporters have said that this latest reward program will result in a new industry of violent antiabortion bounty hunters.
A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, led by Whole Woman’s Health, argues the law “flagrantly violates the constitutional rights of Texans seeking abortion and upends the rule of law in service of an anti-abortion agenda.”
“The state has put a bounty on the head of any person or entity who so much as gives patient money for an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy before most people know they are pregnant,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement.
“Worse, it will intimidate loved ones from providing support for fear of being sued.”
Over 370 Texas attorneys, including county attorneys, current and former elected officials, former judges, and law professors wrote a letter to the state legislature in April expressing their concerns over the bill.