a scary time in America – The Rider News
By Kaitlyn McCormick
Less than a year after Texas enacted Senate Bill 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, other states across the country have pushed legislation that directly challenges abortion rights in America — a move that will harm the health of pregnant women nationwide if successful.
In the spirit of SB8, Idaho lawmakers passed legislation this month that would severely impede abortion rights in the state. Senate Bill 1309 allows a select group of parents of an “unborn child” to sue an abortion provider, starting at $20,000. This group includes the “woman on whom an abortion has been attempted or performed”, as well as the father, grandparents, siblings, aunt or uncle of the “unborn child”.
The law applies legal implications for procedures past the six-week marker, a time when the majority of people wouldn’t even know they were pregnant, and certainly not far enough into gestation to warrant calling it an embryo. non-viable outside the womb a “pre-born”. child.”
The financial motivation for parents to sue can and will be devastating for abortion providers in the state, which would be detrimental to people actively seeking safe abortion.
This recent legislation from Idaho is just one of many similar bills sweeping the country, testing the limits of accessibility to reproductive health care and relying on citizen initiative. Take for example Oklahoma House Bill 4327, which, similar to SB8, would in short allow citizens to sue not only abortion providers but also other citizens for helping someone get an abortion. or even for intending to do so.
These state bills aren’t even the biggest threats to abortion rights in America, as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization continues to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court — a case that the verdict says directly challenges the precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973. This case challenges the constitutionality of abortions on a broader spectrum and serves to set a new precedent banning abortions past the 15-week mark.
The ongoing threats to abortion access in the United States come as no surprise, but as state legislatures become creative in finding loopholes to these restrictions, such as allowing private citizens to sue those who request or provide abortions according to the state, more and more women and people of childbearing age are put at risk. In cases like Texas’ SB8, which the Supreme Court upheld, abortions in the state fell 60% in the first month of enactment, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, but that doesn’t mean that the procedure is not yet in progress. research.
No matter how many laws, policies and petitions are proposed by lawmakers and pro-life supporters in these more conservative states, the need for abortion will persist. Passing highly restrictive legislation is not a comprehensive or convincing way to address what many claim is a concern for life, especially when those conversations often lack commitments to existing human life.
Abortion is health care. This is health care per se, apart from the exceptions to the stigma involved in cases of incest or rape. It is illogical that anyone sufficiently opposed to medical procedure to sue or pass devastating legislation to prevent its use has a sincere interest in protecting life if they are not as vocal, if not louder, on matters such as enforcement of safe sex education, access to contraceptives, affordable childcare and reliable parental leave.
More often than not, these laws and the majority rhetoric supporting them have an off-putting tendency to read less as a genuine and respectable concern for life, and more as a way of feeling fair to the personal and private interests of others. and difficult decisions.
Kaitlyn McCormick, sophomore journalism major
and opinion editor The Rider News
Originally printed in the 3/30/22 issue.