The Texas Abortion Bill has garnered a lot of attention since it was signed into Law by Greg Abbot on Wednesday September 1st, 2021. With this article we hope to "round the bases" a bit and summarize what the Bill actually does, and explore some of the reaction to it.
What it Does
The Bill Bans Abortions after an ultrasound can detect a "heartbeat." Generally at about 6 weeks. (There is a semantic debate ongoing as to whether this "heartbeat" is a beat of the heart muscle or simply the signals that start a heartbeat. But that conversation is irrelevant.)
It introduces a means for private citizens to sue practically anyone involved in the performance of an abortion after the defined "heartbeat" is heard.
There is no executive enforcement of the Bill. This is a purely civil law. Much like patents it can only be enforced by bringing suit between private individuals and companies.
That is the full extent of the Bill. We do encourage that our readers take a look at it at the link above. Unlike many bills it is actually quite brief at about 7-10 pages. And it will help to clear up what parts of the ongoing conversation have any relevance.
There has been response from a number of private companies, including texas-based Match and Bumble. But surprisingly also from ride sharing apps.
This is actually fascinating. Uber and Lyft have offered to pay the legal fees of drivers that are sued under this law. And from the statements made by their CEO's this is to protect drivers taking young women to abortion clinics. This law does not appear to have the language to implicate taxi drivers in the act of the abortion. So these statements are practically political pandering.
65.4% of abortions occur within 8 weeks of conception (We bring it up because this law appears to only affect half of abortions.)
In 2017 Abortions were at their lowest level since 1973
73% of abortions are obtained by Women under the age of 30.
Approximately 862,320 abortions were performed in 2017, down 7% from 926,190 in 2014. (The reduction is attributed to a reduction in pregnancies' not a reduction of abortion utilization per 1000 women)