For Immediate Release: Friday, September 3, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
Anti-choice lawmakers in at least six states have said they intend to pursue Texas’ vigilante abortion ban
Washington, DC — Just days after Texas enacted SB 8—an extreme ban on abortion before many people even know they are pregnant that creates an incentive for private individuals to sue anyone who helps a pregnant person access the care they need—a growing list of anti-choice state politicians signaled their intent to pass similar legislation in their own states. So far, state lawmakers in Florida, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have publicly said that they intend to use Texas’ vigilante abortion ban as a blueprint to attack reproductive freedom through copycat legislation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Acting President Adrienne Kimmell released the following statement in response:
“The ‘Texas Effect’ we are seeing now is part of a sinister strategy to decimate fundamental rights and freedoms by enacting cruel copycat legislation across states. Like dominos falling one after another, extremist lawmakers are lining up to follow Texas’ lead and block access to abortion care at all costs. The ripple effect of this ban on abortion undermines our freedom and will be felt by Americans across the country. We must act now to stop it in its tracks.
NARAL and our 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country are committed to fighting side-by-side with our partners to ensure that Americans have the freedom to make our own decisions about our lives, families, and futures. Politicians take note: If you jeopardize reproductive freedom, we’ll come for your seats.”
Texas’ SB 8 is a manifestation of the anti-choice movement’s decades-long quest to advance its agenda of power and control, no matter the cost to women, pregnant people, and families. An anti-choice group helped draft the cruel bill, and its staff has reportedly already begun drafting similar legislation for those interested in bringing Texas’ ban to their own state.
The impact of SB 8 will continue to reverberate throughout surrounding states, disproportionately harming Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other people of color; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; and people with low incomes, all of whom already face the greatest barriers to accessing care.
Until this week, every state’s attempt to ban abortion at six weeks has been struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional. Texas’ ban is different: Unlike bans in other states, which are enforced by state officials, SB 8 gives private citizens unprecedented authority to enforce its abortion ban.
The enactment of SB 8 is part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access in Texas. Texas’ ban joins over 90 other restrictions on abortion access that have been enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was decided. In the midst of these attacks, the anti-choice, anti-freedom supermajority on the Supreme Court solidified by the confirmations of Trump’s justices agreed to take up Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe.
This ban on abortion care underscores the urgent need for Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), critical legislation that would protect the right to access abortion care free from bans and medically unnecessary restrictions, safeguarding the federal right to abortion throughout the United States.
Background on SB 8
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional SB 8— a ban on abortion at approximately six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant—allowing Texas to effectively render Roe meaningless in the state. This dystopian law grants almost any person the power to sue someone for “aiding and abetting” a pregnant person seeking abortion care and be awarded $10,000 or more for their vigilantism. The ban went into effect on September 1. Any Texan can now be sued if they are so much as suspected of having helped a pregnant person seeking abortion care after about six weeks in pregnancy. This includes clergy members or counselors, abortion funds that assist someone in paying for abortion care, and even someone who drives a patient to their appointment—including family members, friends, and rideshare drivers.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.