Senate Bill 8


Naomi Presler, Reporter

The Texas abortion law, or rather Senate Bill 8, took affect September 1st, 2021. This law,  which effectively banned most abortions, has become a center of controversy around the nation. 

On the surface of Senate Bill 8, an abortion cannot be performed if there is a fetal heartbeat detected at 6 weeks. Underneath its surface, the bill has more than meets the eye. Senate Bill 8 allows any-day  citizens to sue the parties involved with an abortion for monetary incentive. The bill essentially makes it acceptable for nurses, doctors, insurance companies, and even Uber drivers, to pay $10,000  if they are sued for being involved and lose the court case. If they somehow win, the woman does not need to pay for the defendants legal costs. It does not even have to be someone from within the state. A person outside the state can sue those who assisted with an abortion. This is a very dangerous law. 

It gives ordinary people way too much power. When looking at Senate Bill 8, there were some examples used that brought to light how much power any-day citizens will have. For example, an Uber driver could take a woman to get an abortion. The woman then sues this driver for being ‘involved’ in her abortion. Her reasoning: transportation. This Uber driver is more than likely to lose the court case and have to pay $10,000. This is unfair to the poor driver because, he was not “involved” in the abortion. Yes, transportation is provided, but the driver had nothing to do with the abortion itself. 

Even though they looked through it “thoroughly”, the Supreme Court has since declined to stop the legislation from taking effect. There have been no cases brought to court yet. This is because abortion clinics and hospitals have chosen to abide by the law. They have been frozen in time and are scared to perform on anyone.

A little history behind using court cases and legalities to stop or curb abortions, started in the 1990s. A man named Mark Crutcher created a program called Spies for Life. This program published manuals explaining how to go after abortion clinics and providers using the legal system. Louisiana followed this example as well. 

State Senator Bryan Huges, has said that his model for the Senate Bill 8, was the law in a local town called Waskom, Texas. In 2019, the town passed a similar law stating that the residents had the right to sue anyone involved or aiding the abortion. The result was a success. All, if not half, abortion clinics stopped giving abortions. Just like the immediate reaction after Senate Bill 8 was announced. According to AP News, “Nearly three dozen other cities in the state followed Waskom’s lead. Among them is Lubbock, where a Planned Parenthood clinic stopped performing abortions this year as a result.”

The Justice Department has filed a 27 page complaint about Senate Bill 8, as the Supreme Court has not taken on the case. In summary, the Department of Justice compared the law to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey to the new law. The argument is that Senate Bill 8 would face unique challenges such as, a group funding abortions, could come forward and willingly break the law to sue. They even mentioned that the state should put in place and amendment that protects abortion providers from being sued. This has been explained as far fetched from lawyers within the government. 

There are other states around the country who have similar laws that allow the people to sue with monetary incentive. In Missouri, for example, ordinary people can sue local law departments for giving “material aid and support” to federal agents for perceived violations of the Second Amendment. This is just one example, of one state, how much power is being given to ordinary people when they should not have such power. 

As a whole, Senate Bill 8 has caused outrage from Liberals and applause from Conservatives. It has also caused women’s right activists to step forward. It has caused Pro-Lifers and  Pro-Choice groups to go head to head debating a topic that is very controversial. As a whole nation there was either outrage or applause. As a result, the Supreme Court needs to address and reform Senate Bill 8 to make a compromise between all the parties for and against the Bill.