This morning Texas Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill (SB) 8, the 6-week abortion ban that allows anyone to sue someone they suspect helped someone access abortion in Texas. This signature means that this bill has now become a law.
So does this mean that abortion is now illegal in Texas?
It’s important to know that bills signed into law don’t generally go into effect immediately. This new law does not go into effect until September 1, so at this moment the abortion laws in Texas are the same as they were before. If you’re under 18, you need parental consent or permission from a judge through judicial bypass to access abortion (and we can help with that). In Texas, abortion is banned after 20 weeks, and you have to have a sonogram appointment with your abortion provider a minimum of 24 hours before your abortion.
Right now in Texas abortion is still legal prior to 20 weeks.
Now it’s time for a little learning the courts. The next thing that is likely to happen is that an organization will file a lawsuit. While that lawsuit is making its way through the court, judges can put a temporary restraining order, or TRO, on the law. This means the law cannot go into effect until the court has made a decision about whether or not the law is constitutional. We don’t know yet whether or when a lawsuit will be filed or by whom, and it’s always possible that the judge won’t provide a TRO to block the law. We do know from past experience this is what often happens.
This Texas legislative session shows how important it is that young people get active in the movement for abortion rights and access. Jane’s Due Process is going to continue to build power with you so that we can build a world where not only are abortion bans not a thing, but laws like parental consent for abortion don’t exist either. Stay tuned for ways to plug in and get involved.