On June 7, 2019, the state of Texas passed legislation banning abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, effective on Sept. 1, 2021. For most pregnancies, cardiac activity can be detected around the sixth week of pregnancy.
The Texas law, also known as Senate Bill 8, is the first of its kind to be implemented. Despite the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to have an abortion, the Supreme Court has refused to block the law in a vote of 5-4.
Due to controversy surrounding the bill, social media has been flooded with posts on both sides. Pro-lifers are expressing the necessity to preserve human life, while pro-choice groups are putting emphasis on the lack of exception for cases of rape, incest and limited exceptions for health reasons.
Another controversial aspect of the bill is the timeframe allowed for women to obtain an abortion before it is illegal to do so.
More specifically, there is particular attention being put on the fact that, with the law, a woman that misses her period will only have two weeks to recognize her pregnancy (including taking a test to confirm), decide how to proceed with the pregnancy and, if she chooses, to obtain an abortion.
It is no surprise that this law has received a significant amount of attention due to contention surrounding the subject of abortion. Aside from controversy stemming from parties on both sides of the aisle, there is also an outpour of concern given the composition of the law.
Senate Bill 8 was written in a manner that makes it incredibly difficult to challenge in court. This could lead to the same formula for legislation being used in the future by both parties, leaving us with hardline policies on hot-button issues that are increasingly difficult to circumvent and enforce.