Texas 6 -Week Abortion Law
Abortion rights activists rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 2019. Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

What Happened?

In Texas, as of September 1, a controversial abortion bill that Governor Greg Abbott signed into law in May has become effective, following the Supreme Court’s decision not to block it. The new law is highly contested by public health experts and many organizations dedicated to safeguarding female health.

Breakdown of Law

The new law, also known as Senate Bill 8 (SB8), effectively bans abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy. This is calculated as starting from the date of a person’s last menstrual cycle, when, the bill alleges, the “fetal heartbeat” is most often detectable.

How This Affects Texan Women

Most abortions in Texas aren’t performed until 6 weeks or later. In an interview with Femi Secrets, Founder and CEO, Davielle Jackson, Davielle had this to share,

“This is yet another form of women’s oppression in the 21st century. Still to this day, men are still making decisions for women. Unacceptable.”

Davielle understands the outrage and conflicting views on this law as she is a local texan herself.

Here’s how early pregnancy works

Controversy

Lack of medical certification

Most other states that allow abortions have set the cut-off point at 20 or 24 weeks of pregnancy when most fetuses are considered viable — that is, likely to survive. For one, medically, the length of pregnancy is not typically measured from the date of conception. Instead, the new law notes, “pregnancy is calculated from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period.” This statement lines up with the typical way doctors initially work to determine gestational age, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. But this traditional method assumes a person has regular periods that normally occur about every 28 days or four weeks. Many women have more irregular periods.

Rape and Incest

Many women are infuriated about the idea that if they were impregnated as a victim of rape and/or incest (both illegal nationwide) they will suffer from not just only the acts, but from the burden of such a restrictive law. In response to this criticism, Governor Abbott has promised to get rid of all rapists, but Texans believe that is an impossible task.

Sources

Houston Public Media 2021, accessed 12 September 2021, <https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/health-science/2021/09/13/408251/texas-has-banned-abortions-at-about-6-weeks-but-the-time-frame-for-pregnant-patients-to-get-one-is-less-than-2/>

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