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Massive anti-abortion bill heads to Abbott

And from there to the courts, in one form or another.

Legislation that would ban abortions after as early as six weeks — before many women know they are pregnant — and let virtually any private citizen sue abortion providers and others was given final approval by lawmakers Thursday and is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has signaled he will sign it into law.

Senate Bill 8, a Republican priority measure, is similar to “heartbeat bills” passed in other states that have been mostly stopped by the courts. But proponents of the Texas legislation believe it’s structured in a way that makes it tougher to block.

The bill was denounced by hundreds of lawmakers and doctors — in letters circulated by opponents of the measure — who said its broad legal language could open the door to harassing or frivolous lawsuits that could have a “chilling effect” on abortion providers and leave rape crisis counselors, nurses and clinic staff “subject to tens of thousands of dollars in liability to total strangers.” Abortion rights advocates say it is among the most extreme restrictions nationwide.

The bill, which would take effect later this year, bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected without specifying a timeframe. A legislative analysis and the bill’s proponents have said that can be as early as six weeks, though state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, in a floor debate cited medical experts who say there is no fully developed heart at that gestational age and that the sound referred to as a heartbeat is actually “electrically induced flickering” of fetal tissue.

The bill makes an exception allowing for abortions in the case of a medical emergency but not for rape or incest.

It would be enforced by private citizens empowered to sue abortion providers and others who help someone get an abortion after six weeks, for example, by driving them to an abortion clinic.

Those private citizens would not need to have a connection to an abortion provider or a person seeking an abortion, and would not need to reside in Texas.

See here for the previous update. The bright idea behind this is that the state won’t be enforcing the ban, private citizens who file a gazillion lawsuits against clinics and doctors will be the enforcers. As such, the state can’t be sued to overturn the law, since they’re not enforcing it. It’s clever, and it’s never been tried before, so who knows how that will play out. (You know what they say about “clever”.) Six week abortion bans have been universally blocked by federal courts so far, for what it’s worth. I’m not dumb enough to predict what might happen here. We’ll have to wait and see, and hope for the best.

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  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Obviously, I oppose this legislation, but if it passes, I’m considering opening a non profit that will help expectant birthing people of any gender to travel to other states to abort their babies. We’ll fundraise, and provide ‘scholarships’ for birthing people to board buses to other states to abort their babies. I’m thinking we’ll let the donors customize their donation.

    For example, a donor would be able to choose a black girl, a Hispanic boy, a White girl, etc., to kill. Maybe it would be nice to send the donors who sponsor abortions and travel money, a sonogram of the baby they helped to terminate, in the same way animal and kids’ charities will send you a picture and bio of an animal or kid your donations have helped.

    “This is, well, WAS, Bob, and your generous gift ensured that Bob did not make it to term, and a healthy birth.”

    Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but if the law passes, and birthing people have to go out of state for their abortions, let’s make sure there is a safety net there to ensure that the kids are killed anyway. Birthing people need to be empowered to make their own decisions about their bodies, without financial hardship being an issue.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Well, it’s law. Anyone want to go in business with me on my abortion tourism company?

    And here’s a little mood music for the new ‘heartbeat’ law:

  3. […] here for the previous update. Not really much else to say until someone files a lawsuit one way or the […]