A recent Texas abortion ban will make sexual and reproductive healthcare more challenging for LGBTQ+ folks. People in the LGBTQ+ community already struggle to find appropriate healthcare. This bill will only create more difficulties.
What Is the Recent Texas Abortion Ban, and Why Is It Harmful?
Last Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an extreme anti-abortion bill. This recently signed bill prohibits the procedure at six weeks of pregnancy. The issue with this timeline is that it’s a point at which many folks still don’t know they’re pregnant. The bill is being described as a “near-total” ban on abortions.
Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) is also known as Texas’ “heartbeat law.” It bans abortions once there is a fetal heartbeat. It also makes no exceptions for incest or rape. The only exception it makes is during medical emergencies.
This new law makes Texas the only state that allows citizens to sue healthcare providers. They can take legal action against doctors and other individuals who help perform an abortion after six weeks. Under SB 8, if someone regrets having an abortion, they could even take legal action. They could do so by taking legal action against the person who drove them to the clinic.
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How Will This Bill Affect LGBTQ+ Folks?
This bill and abortion ban will be incredibly challenging for LGBTQ+ people.
The LGBTQ+ community already experiences disproportionate challenges to accessing sexual healthcare.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, every sexual minority group (excluding lesbians) will be disadvantaged. They are more likely than heterosexual people to experience an unintended pregnancy, a pregnancy for someone younger than 20 years old, or an abortion.
Also, the laws will make it difficult for Planned Parenthood to operate. They are one the largest providers of trans healthcare in the United States. More than 100 of their clinics give access to gender-affirming treatments; for instance, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in over 17 states. They also provide trans people with a safe space where they can receive medical advice without discrimination.
Many trans folks fear seeking medical attention. A 2015 survey from NCTE determined that a third of respondents had at least one negative experience from a medical provider in the past year. Poor medical treatment can include misgendering the patient or refusing to provide care.
The bill and abortion ban will harm the 1.4 million transgender people in the US looking for a reliable healthcare resource.
What Have Critics Been Saying About This Abortion Ban?
Critics believe that this bill is detrimental for pregnant people. It could lead to them feeling like they have no options. As a result, there could perform more at-home remedies to try and induce an abortion. These methods can be fatal. In fact, a 2018 report from the Atlantic determined that 30,000 people die each year from botching their abortions.
Pro-choice activists are also concerned that placing the power in the hands of private citizens could make this law stick. It creates obstacles for abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood to sue the state.
What’s With All the Anti-Abortion Bills?
Even in 2021, abortion restrictions are continuing throughout the United States. The Guttmacher Institute reports that 15 states have put 70 restrictions on abortion into place since January. There have also been ten bans.
Here is a summary of what is happening in these states:
The Supreme Court will hear Mississippi’s bid to invoke a previous Republican-backed state law. This law prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
This case could even undercut the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. Roe v Wade legalized abortion across the United States. We can expect to hear the Supreme Court’s ruling next year.
Lawmakers have approved a similar ban to Mississippi. However, it will not take effect until the ruling of Mississippi’s law.
Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill banning abortions due to genetic disorders. The only exception is if the condition is lethal. The law will take effect later this year.
Arkansas banned all abortions in March. There are exceptions in medical emergencies, but none for rape or incest.
The law will come into effect in August.
Idaho started selling “Choose Life” license plates in January. You can purchase similar license plates in 33 states. 18 of these states donate a portion of the profits to anti-abortion efforts.
The attorney general of Kentucky has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate one of its bans. This ban was on the dilation and evacuation method used in second-trimester abortions. It was signed into law; however, a court shut it down in 2019.
A law banning abortions after eight weeks is on hold.
Montana’s Republican-led legislature passed several anti-abortion bills in April. They are restricting abortion access.
Also, they are prohibiting terminations after 20 weeks. These bills will take effect in October.
In April, Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed an outright abortion ban. They will enact the bill in November.
He also signed another law prohibiting abortion from six weeks. They will charge doctors with homicide if they perform an abortion after this timeframe.
In April, a federal appeals court enforced a law banning abortions according to a fetus diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. Ohio also passed a bill last year where fetal tissue must be buried or cremated.
Abortion providers in Pennsylvania lost a court challenge for a ban in March. This ban is about using state Medicaid funds for abortions. There will be an upcoming appeal to the state Supreme Court.
In February, Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill that outlaws abortion when they find a fetal heartbeat.
This law is currently on hold. It is pending a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood.
In 2020, Tennessee banned abortions as early as six weeks. They are also mandating patients to be informed about the controversial “abortion reversal.” Many medical professionals are disputing this treatment.
Many of these laws have been blocked because of legal challenges. One that’s currently in effect is a law prohibiting abortions based on a Down’s Syndrome diagnosis.