For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, Judge Robert Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas granted the Department of Justice’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Texas’ SB 8, the vigilante-enforced ban on abortion care before many people know they are pregnant, for now.
NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Acting President Adrienne Kimmell released the following statement:
“The injunction blocking SB 8 for now is an important step in the right direction, but it is in no way a solution to the pernicious ban on abortion that has ripped away Texans’ reproductive freedom for the last month. The chilling effect of this cruel law has been felt in every corner of the state of Texas and has sent shockwaves across the country. With anti-choice lawmakers in 12 states and counting lining up to bring Texas’ unconstitutional ban to their own states, the threat to the future of abortion access could not be more acute. We need a legislative solution: It is absolutely imperative that the Senate swiftly pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to safeguard the legal right to abortion throughout the United States.”
Over the last 36 days, SB 8 has had a devastating impact on the landscape for abortion access in Texas, forcing Texans to travel to Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico, and elsewhere to access care and pushing care entirely out of reach for many. It is impossible to overstate the impact of this abortion ban when 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the United States live in Texas. In addition to blocking access to care in Texas, SB 8 is serving as a blueprint for anti-choice lawmakers across the country to attack reproductive freedom. Politicians hostile to reproductive freedom in at least 12 states have signaled their intention to pursue copycat legislation.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional ban on abortion, rendering Roe v. Wade meaningless for tens of millions of Texans. SB 8 joins more than 106 restrictions on abortion access have been enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was decided. The people hurt most by these restrictions are those who already face barriers to accessing the care they need—including women; Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of color; those working to make ends meet; members of the LGBTQ+ community; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; and people with disabilities.
In the midst of incessant attacks on abortion access in states across the country, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case challenging Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and threatens the legal right to abortion. Oral arguments in this case are scheduled for December 1.
In response to the unprecedented threats to reproductive freedom, the U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). WHPA protects the right to access abortion care free from bans and medically unnecessary restrictions, safeguarding the federal right to abortion throughout the United States if Roe is overturned. This legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration. It is critical that the Senate swiftly pass WHPA before the Supreme Court has the opportunity to entirely gut the legal right to abortion in order to stop bans like SB 8 and protect our fundamental right to make our own decisions about pregnancy.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.