- Texas passed an abortion bill that bans the procedure after six weeks and incentivizes citizens to sue anyone who doesn’t comply.
- The bill, called SB8, puts rideshare drivers, healthcare and front desk workers, and a patient’s family at risk of a lawsuit.
- If a Texan who sues wins, they are awarded $10,000 and their legal costs are waived.
Texas’ abortion ban, the strictest in the nation, went into effect on Tuesday after the Supreme Court declined an emergency stop.
The bill, called SB8, incentivizes Texans to sue fellow residents involved in abortion care performed after 6 weeks of pregnancy. If a resident sues and wins, they get $10,000 in damages and their attorney fees are compensated.
Incest and rape cases do not count as exemptions that allow for abortion under the rule.
The first-of-its-kind legislation ignores former Supreme Court cases including Roe v. Wade, which say people have the right to access abortion with minimal government intervention.
The law also affects people who aren’t seeking abortions, putting Uber and taxi drivers, doctors and healthcare workers, and abortion patients’ families in legal peril.
Healthcare workers could lose their jobs or face jail time
Healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, and front desk workers at clinics could lose their jobs and go to jail for providing abortions.
Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi is an abortion provider who went to medical school in Texas and has practiced there ever since. In an interview with NPR, Moayedi said the bill prevents her from doing the work she was trained to do.
“You know, this bill is 100% about putting fear in physicians and putting fear in abortion funds and intimidating us,” Moayedi told NPR.
She said job loss could also mean being unable to provide financially for her family.
Rideshare drivers transporting abortion patients could be sued
Under the bill, people who work in transportation and provide a ride to an abortion clinic could also be sued.
This could include rideshare drivers with services like Uber and Lyft and taxi drivers.
Texans can sue any fellow resident breaking the ban, even complete strangers
Texans are incentivized to sue people who break the ban, and have the option to bring legal action upon any fellow Texan, even if they’ve never met before.
As Moayedi told NPR, this could lead to people becoming more guarded about what personal information they share with others.
An abortion patient’s family and friends aren’t safe from legal action
Anyone with the intent to aid in abortion care could face legal action, and that includes people who offer financial aid, transportation, or other assistance to loved ones.
More pregnant people could die
Potentially fatal mental and physical health concerns are common reasons people seek abortions, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, a doctor at Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Houston who performs upwards of 30 abortions daily, told the Texas Tribune.
“Many of the patients that I take care of will say, ‘I can’t be pregnant because my last delivery was very traumatic and I almost died’ or ‘I can’t be pregnant because I have heart problems’ or whatever medical condition that’s eliminated their ability to continue the pregnancy,” Kumar told Texas Tribune. “I think that’s not appreciated enough.”