WASHINGTON, D.C. — By not taking action on its own to block Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8), the U.S. Supreme Court upended our system of laws in favor of vigilante justice. At six weeks, many do not yet know they are pregnant, and without access to safe abortions, millions of people in Texas could be forced to go to extreme or dangerous measures.
S.B. 8 also allows anyone to sue abortion providers and any individual who helps a person obtain an abortion- from doctors to counselors to clinic escorts -and earn a profit of $10,000 for each successful claim. This would create a roving gang of vigilante anti-abortion extremists who would be state-sanctioned harassers, following people into clinics, intimidating them at their homes, and even suing those who drive friends or family to obtain an abortion.
This legal action effectively overturns Roe v. Wade in Texas. Instead of being able to access abortion care, Texans face the harsh hypocrisy that bodily autonomy is only guaranteed to some. It’s an end-run around the Constitution, an assault on our values as citizens, and an assault on our reproductive freedom. Instead of keeping enforcement of our laws in the hands of state officials, prosecutors, and health departments, it gives members of the public that authority–replacing professional expertise and legal standing with racism, misogyny, and extremism.
Abortion providers have filed an emergency application to block the law, which is rooted in systemic oppression and disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. NOW urges the Supreme Court to act on this application immediately and protect Roe. We must continue to sound the alarm on these attacks on reproductive freedom and prevent S.B. 8 and any other similar laws from being enacted across the country. Abortion access is hanging by a thread.