Texas Abortion Laws: The Morality of Senate Bill 8


Salwa Usmani, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the website or its affiliates.*



Senate Bill 8, also referred to as the Texas Heartbeat Act, was signed by Governor Greg Abbott on May 19, 2021, which effectively bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with few exceptions. This reprehensible act directly infringes on rights protected by the constitution while simultaneously risking the safety and well-being of pregnant individuals.

The Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalized abortions throughout the nation in a 7-2 decision, declaring that the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution implied the right to an abortion. While states may have the power to regulate abortion procedures during the second trimester, the decision to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester (twelve weeks) is the discretion of the individual. Since various states have been halted in their efforts to pass restrictive abortion acts; however, in an abhorrent decision, the Supreme Court ruled against blocking Senate Bill 8 due to the methodical and corrupt implications of this policy. 

Rather than pursuing a patient through law enforcement and criminal justice, the new act is enforced through civil lawsuits against individuals accused of performing or aiding in an abortion past six weeks. Thus, the state would fundamentally rely on the initiative of citizens to enforce the law. Additionally, plaintiffs do not need any relationship with the defendant, allowing for even a taxi driver to be subject to punishment for aiding in an abortion procedure. To encourage citizens to enforce the mandate, the Texas government will reward $10,000 if the plaintiff wins the lawsuit. Abortion providers in the state have already halted the procedure for pregnancies past six weeks, eliminating the option for thousands who are not even aware of a possible pregnancy; or individuals that do not even realize they are pregnant before the six-week mark. 

The restrictive measures put in place allow for very few exceptions, even in cases of rape or incest. The majority of standard pregnancy tests do not register as positive until three to four weeks after conception. Receiving an abortion before the six-week mark makes it virtually impossible due to the time needed for the clinic’s approval for operation. Essentially, the law prioritizes the development of a fetus over the well-being of an individual. Imposing abortions on pregnant individuals are violent and compromises their ability to lead regular lives.

Regardless of the legality of abortions in Texas, many will still have the operation performed. Those who cannot afford the operation in a different state or country may resort to dangerous procedures that may lead to severe injury or even death. Millions across the United States should not be suffering the consequences of something so preventable. Pregnant individuals may die or be gravely injured due to SB 8.

As mentioned previously, individuals would be forced to carry a fetus until birth regardless of the pregnancy’s circumstances. Nowhere in the legislation is the mental well-being of a person taken into account, nor is the capability of that individual to raise a child. In the article, “The Implications of Unintended Pregnancies for Mental Health in Later Life,” by Pamela Herd, although the psychological effects of unwanted pregnancies will directly translate into the physical health of an individual, the law prohibits the termination of a pregnancy after six weeks.

One of the main arguments supporting Senate Bill 8 is the claim that abortion is akin to “murder” and should thus be criminalized the way murder is. The ideology used in this argument has roots in many religious beliefs, which suppose murder is the ultimate sin. However, the question of the Texas Abortion Law doesn’t center around whether or not murder should be criminalized, but instead, whether or not abortion is comparable to murder. According to a poll by Vox, only 26% of Americans are pro-life and function under this assumption. If this is true, and only a minority of people believe this, why do we let it rule the lives of women across the state of Texas?

America prides itself on being the freest country in the world unless you do not fit into a structured identity. This is directly refusing young pregnant teens the opportunity to flourish and grow to have the chance to contribute to society in the future. If an individual decides to have an abortion or not needs to be determined at one’s own will. America needs safe and accessible abortions. If this is not changed, we are looking at a society where the leading cause of maternal death will be unsafe abortions. Banning abortions after six weeks will not stop abortions; it will just progress the agenda to restrict women.