On September 1, 2021, Texas’ SB 8—the most draconian ban on abortion in the country—went into effect. SB 8 is a vigilante-enforced ban on abortion care at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant.
Texas’ SB 8 is enforced via an unprecedented bounty-hunting scheme devised to evade judicial scrutiny. This law allows anyone—a neighbor, coworker, anti-choice activist, or even a complete stranger from a different state—to sue someone for providing care or helping a pregnant person access care after about six weeks in pregnancy and be rewarded $10,000 or more.
This cruel ban has been in effect for more than four months. The U.S. Supreme Court has failed to block SB 8 twice, and, as a result, Texans have been forced to travel great distances to other states for abortion care or have been blocked from accessing care entirely.
Which other states are planning to copy Texas’ vigilante-enforced ban on abortion?
Right now, anti-choice lawmakers in seven states—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma—have introduced SB 8 copycat legislation. Just last week, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) released draft language of a copycat ban that could be filed any day. Lawmakers—including governors, state house speakers, and state legislators— in seven other states have publicly said they intend to use Texas’ vigilante-enforced ban on abortion as a blueprint to attack reproductive freedom through copycat legislation.
- Alabama (Bill Introduced)
- Arizona (Bill Introduced)
- Arkansas (Bill Introduced)
- Florida (Bill Introduced)
- Missouri (Bill Introduced)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (Bill Introduced)
- Oklahoma (Bill Introduced)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What is the impact?
This cruel law has effectively shut off access to abortion care in the state of Texas. In the months since SB 8 went into effect, the list of states introducing copycat legislation or signaling intent to pursue similar legislation has continued to grow. The impact of this dystopian law is reverberating to all corners of the country.
Attacks on abortion access like SB 8 disproportionately harm Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other people of color; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; and people with low incomes, all of whom already face the greatest barriers to accessing care.
What can our elected leaders do to stop these attacks?
Texas’ ban joins over 100 other restrictions on abortion access enacted at the state level in 2021, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was decided. In the midst of these attacks, the anti-choice supermajority on the Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe. This case was argued on December 1, 2021, with a decision expected before this summer.
It is clear that the threats to the future of abortion access are more acute than ever. Texas’ SB 8 and the flood of anti-choice lawmakers pursuing copycat legislation, coupled with the unyielding attacks on reproductive freedom across the country and the direct threat to the future of Roe, underscore the urgent need for the U.S. Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). This critical legislation would protect the right to abortion care throughout the United States.
There is absolutely no time to waste: With every passing day, and even with Roe still standing, more and more people are being denied their constitutional right to abortion. We need a legislative solution to block attacks on abortion access like SB 8. WHPA is the best way to halt the evisceration of abortion access that is well underway across the country.