Supreme Court Allows Texas’ Six-Week Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

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"...at their core, these rights are about personal autonomy and self-determination.”
September 1, 2021

Last night, the United States Supreme Court failed to stop Texas’ highly controversial Senate Bill 8, a near-total ban on abortion in the state, allowing it to go into effect. The bill, which is currently being challenged at the federal district court level, prohibits abortions after six weeks, before most people realize they are pregnant. Additionally, Senate Bill 8 also encourages private citizens to sue someone suspected of violating the ban, by rewarding them at least $10,000 per abortion to be paid by the person sued. Through its inaction, the Court refused to act on an emergency request from Texas abortion providers to stop the extreme law from going into effect pending litigation.

Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director for Lambda Legal, Sharon McGowan, issued the following statement: 

“Abortion is essential health care and it is inappropriate and unacceptable for the government and politicians to be interfering in the deeply personal decisions made by patients, with the help of their health care providers, about their own bodies. The right to decide if, when, and how to have a family is incredibly important in its own right, and is also inextricably intertwined with the right of all people—and particularly LGBTQ people—to define who they are, because, at their core, these rights are about personal autonomy and self-determination. Texas’ Senate Bill 8 is just another example of the outrageous lengths that anti-abortion politicians and state officials—many times the same people who support bills that criminalize life-saving gender-affirming care for transgender young people —will go to subvert our Constitution in order to control the bodies and lives of others. This bill, and the Supreme Court’s inaction, flouts nearly fifty years of Supreme Court precedent affirming the right to abortion prior to viability.

“By doing nothing, the Court has allowed chaos to take hold in one of the largest states in our union, basically overnight, by banning nearly all abortions in the state, and unleashing vigilante justice. While Senate Bill 8 is being litigated, countless Texans, including LGBTQ people, will be forced to continue pregnancies, to self manage their abortions without the benefit of medical advice and support from their local healthcare providers, or for those privileged enough to have the means, to travel incredible distances to receive abortion care out-of-state. Among those who will suffer, Texas’ ban will disproportionately harm bisexual, nonbinary, and transgender people as, according to the Guttmacher Institute, they are more likely than their heterosexual peers to seek abortion. 

“At Lambda Legal, we have a proud history of solidarity with advocates for reproductive justice, which includes safe and accessible abortion care. We have supported several cases as amicus and represented abortion providers ourselves in cases challenging the so-called ‘Conscience Rule.’ The movements for reproductive justice and LGBTQ civil rights are each critical to our shared struggle for self-determination, and we support Texans and their advocates in the fight against Senate Bill 8. The litigants in this case, abortion service providers and advocates, should and will prevail in their fight to stop this blatantly illegal law because the right to make personal health care decisions for ourselves without state interference is a right guaranteed to us by our Constitution.”

Learn more about Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Jackson et al. here

Learn more about Lambda Legal’s advocacy about the importance of abortion access for LGBTQ people here

Learn more about Lambda Legal’s challenge to the federal so-called “Conscience Rule” here.

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Contact Info

Graciela González, Cell: 312-545-8140; Email: ggonzalez@lambdalegal.org

Related Issues: Health Care Fairness

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