Texas Blueprint for Abortion Restrictions



This is an abstract from The Washington Post article of Meryl Kornfield on September 3, 2021.

Republican officials in more than six states moved to replicate Texas’s restrictive abortion ban after the Supreme Court declined to stop the Texas law, and GOP officials in at least seven states have suggested they may review or amend their states’ laws to mirror Texas’s legislation, which bans abortions after six weeks. This is a seismic change and other states will pay attention.

The Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case Mississippi has asked to overrule Roe v. Wade. “If the Texas legislation is upheld by the Supreme Court, we would pass legislation mirroring at Texas,” said South Carolina republican state Sen. Larry Grooms. He discarded national polling data, saying it doesn’t reflect opinions in South Carolina, where he believes more people are coming around to antiabortion stances, this is a morality issue, rather than a political one. “For me, it’s not about winning at the polls,” he said. “It’s about protecting the sanctity of human life, and that includes unborn humans.”

As an unwavering advocate for the sanctity of human life, I applaud Texas for standing up to protect unborn human babies,” said Ohio Republican state Sen. Kristina Roegner in a statement. “As a mother of three daughters, I am pleased to have carried the heartbeat bill in Ohio, and will continue to fight for the right to life.”

“There could be some judge that finds a way to stop it next week,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life. “But if this is saving babies right now, of course, we’re supporting it.” Advocates on both sides predicted increased activism and rulemaking. Antiabortion groups are expected to seize on Texas victory, moving forward with other restrictions. “This [Texas ruling] gives us more motivation to push our state legislature to advance our key issues,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life.

Even as legislators and lobbyists ready themselves for a possible domino effect of similar bills, some reproductive rights advocates predicted a possible pushback against abortion bans in the wake of such a restrictive policy from Texas.

Since Vicki Ringer, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood Votes South Atlantic, warned of an attempt by South Carolina lawmakers to replicate the Texas ban in an op-ed in The State Thursday, she said her phone has “been ringing off the hook.” In South Carolina, where rates of maternal mortality are among the highest in the nation, particularly among Black women, such restrictions could be detrimental to women’s health, she said. “People are terrified,” Ringer said in an interview. The burden of any abortion restriction falls on people of color, low-income individuals and young people, advocates say.

As clinics close and appointments grow scarce, people could have to travel hours, sometimes across state lines, to find care. The average cost of an abortion is $550, per the Guttmacher Institute. Traveling for appointments and taking time off work add the cost.


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