Texas enforces restrictive abortion ban; FL advocates say it’s ‘part of a national agenda’

By: - September 1, 2021 3:50 pm

Protesters at the Supreme Court in March 2020, when the justices were hearing arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. Robin Bravender/States Newsroom

With Texas successfully enforcing on Wednesday an anti-abortion law considered as one of the most restrictive in the nation, abortion rights advocates in Florida are warning that the Texas measure is connected to an overall attempt to block abortions for women nationwide.

“The new Texas ban makes abortion everyone’s business but your own,” Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said in an email to the Florida Phoenix.

“This unconstitutional law bans abortion at six weeks — before many people even know they’re pregnant — and it means that many Texas patients simply won’t be able to get an abortion. No one’s most personal medical decisions should be controlled by politicians or anyone else.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to act on blocking the law, but the court still has time to grant that request from abortion providers in Texas, according to The Washington Post. The law also relies on private citizens to bring lawsuits against people who help pregnant women get abortions after that time period.

Those abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health, argued that the  abortion ban threatens the protections under Roe vs. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court legalizing abortions.

Florida has a history of state lawmakers introducing legislation that places further restrictions on abortion services, and abortion rights groups have continued to fight to protect women’s reproductive health rights.

“We’ve already seen these extreme six-week abortion bans introduced in Florida. While this bill is extreme, it’s important to recognize it is part of a national agenda to end access to abortion in this country,” Goodhue said.

During the legislative session in 2019, former Republican state Rep. Mike Hill, from the Panhandle, unsuccessfully attempted to pass legislation that would have prohibited a pregnant woman from an abortion if a doctor could detect a fetal heartbeat.

GOP lawmakers filed a slew of bills in the 2021 session that failed, including a restriction on abortions based on a detected disability in a fetus and ban on abortions at 20-weeks during pregnancy. However, a bill was signed into law in 2020 by Gov. Ron DeSantis, requiring a minor to receive parental consent to terminate a pregnancy.

As previously reported by the Phoenix, State Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and state Rep. Tommy Gregory had introduced bills during the 2021 session titled “Protection of a Pain-capable Unborn Child from Abortion” to ban abortions at five months, claiming that is the time when an unborn child can feel pain.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden weighed in on the issue, denouncing the Texas law on abortion.

“Today, Texas law SB 8 went into effect. This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” Biden said in a written statement.

Biden continued: “The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes. And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual.

My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.