From September 1, women in Texas who seek abortions after six weeks could be turned in for a $10,000 reward, after the Texas Heartbeat Act passed through the state legislature in May.
The act will allow private citizens to sue private medical companies for granting abortions after a heartbeat is detected. The citizen – who doesn’t have to live in Texas – who reports a case could be awarded $10,000, which has raised serious ethical questions.
Most shockingly, the Pro-Choice group Women’s March has also highlighted that people could also sue surgery providers, nurses, friends and others who facilitate an abortion.
As a result, critics want this law to be changed before it takes effect on September 1.
In May, Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that bans abortions after six weeks, although it does have some exceptions. In the case of a medical emergency, a woman may have an abortion, but the law still stands in cases of pregnancy due to rape or incest.
Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubi noted, ‘Consider the potential for harassment, spying, extortion and other vengeful behavior directed toward women. The law depends on what others know about her reproductive health and are willing to tell the authorities to grab a $10,000 bounty.’
MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid has also expressed her disgust, stating, ‘So now Texas Republicans are putting bounties on pregnant women. I almost hate to ask what this benighted party will think of next.’
Professor Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas told The Washington Post that the law raised numerous issues:
It’s a deeply cynical effort to both (1) chill conduct that ought to be constitutionally protected; and (2) provide cover for judges to find creative ways to dodge the merits of the constitutional challenge.
As per Fortune, six-week bans in other states have all eventually been found unconstitutional as they’ve passed through the legal system.
The differing in policies between Republicans and Democrats is seemingly illustrated in this law. In fact, Rubi went as far as to say ‘If they [Republicans] cannot win elections and defend their policy objectives, Republicans appear willing to burn down democratic elections and ‘equal justice under the law.’
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