Texas Heartbeat Bill: The Chapter is Getting Complicated

The Heartbeat Bill, a bill passed on September 1, 2021 “makes abortions illegal as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, banning procedures as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.” It has since then caused many devastating consequences for women in Texas and sparked outrage not just in Texas but throughout the whole country.

One significant consequence of this bill is that it makes it illegal for women who become pregnant through rape or incest to get an abortion if they violate its circumstances. Even women with a medical condition that can complicate pregnancy, such as anemia, cannot receive an abortion. The Texas heartbeat bill has led abortion providers in Texas to close down clinics, too. 

Because of the heartbeat bill, abortion has become harder to access, achieving the clear objective of the legislation. The bill has led to women traveling out of state, some even hundreds of miles. According to MarketWatch, “Researchers also know that 75% of women who obtain abortions are low-income, with nearly half living below the federal poverty level.” With women having to go out of state to receive an abortion, they incur extra expenses.  In addition, the cost of abortion itself can range up to $1,500, as stated by Planned Parenthood. Because of all these additional costs, some women cannot go through an abortion. This occurrence is especially concerning when we consider that most women go through an abortion because they think they cannot raise a child, and economic reasons factor into that. 

When a person asked Governor Abbot during a press conference, “Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?” He responded,  “It provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion … Rape is a crime. Texas will work tirelessly to make sure to eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.” He has since then faced backlash for the first part of his response because “medical professionals say at six weeks, assaulted people or not, most people do not know they are pregnant.”

According to ABC7 New York, regardless of the consequences, the US Supreme Court refused to block the Heartbeat Bill from going into effect. On the other hand, a week after the law went into effect, the United States Justice Department filed legal action against Texas due to the debatable constitutionality of the legislation. On October 6, 2021, Federal Judge Robert L. Pitman sent out an order blocking the bill. Two days later, on October 8, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit delayed the effect of the ruling. However, the US Supreme Court has agreed to listen to arguments on the ban, and on November 1, 2021, there will be a hearing to ”decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law.” 

With the chaos regarding the abortion ban, Americans, especially women, are worried about their right to an abortion for understandable reasons. The Texas heartbeat bill will have a notable impact on women and their rights over their bodies, which many women would agree should not have been a discussion at all.