On Wednesday, the morning after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to act in time to stop a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy from going into effect in Texas, Hillary Clinton spoke out with an urgent message uplifting the cause of women’s rights. As of early Wednesday, it was still unclear what action that the Supreme Court might take, which was asked to act on the matter by healthcare providers challenging the new Texas law. As the outlet known as The 19th explains, a “lower federal court was supposed to hear arguments last week, but its supervising appellate court — the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals — canceled the hearing late last Friday night.”
Now, the ability to get an abortion has been severely undercut in Texas. Besides the law’s outright ban on abortions taking place following six weeks of pregnancy, the law also allows private citizens to sue someone who’s suspected of having “aided or abetted” any individual undergoing an abortion at a point disallowed by the law. A successful lawsuit along these lines would entail, alongside other things, a $10,000 reward for the person who brought the case. On Twitter, Clinton commented as follows:
‘Under the cover of darkness, by choosing to do nothing, the Supreme Court allowed an unconstitutional abortion ban in Texas to go into effect last night. Their decision doesn’t change the fact that reproductive rights are human rights. We’ll fight for them.’
Under the cover of darkness, by choosing to do nothing, the Supreme Court allowed an unconstitutional abortion ban in Texas to go into effect last night.
Their decision doesn’t change the fact that reproductive rights are human rights. We'll fight for them.https://t.co/hp1N6G2S3M
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 1, 2021
The draconian law is already having its intended, suppressive effect. Major abortion providers in Texas including Planned Parenthood and Whole Women’s Health have moved to stop scheduling abortion appointments for September and beyond, if the appointment would for a pregnancy past the six-week mark, although — despite the law’s provisions — many don’t even know that they’re pregnant until after the six-week point. In 2018, almost two-thirds of abortions in the United States were performed following six weeks of pregnancy.
Texas is not alone among states with Republicans at the helm where harsh restrictions on abortion have been attempted to be put into effect, and it likely won’t be the last. Whether healthcare rights, voting rights, economic rights, or anything similar, Republicans often seem intent on rolling back progress into an equilibrium that’s more comfortable for them but could be devastating for those in need.