Texas passes sweeping abortion restrictions

By Sahar Chmais
A bill with sweeping abortion restrictions is awaiting the signature of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
The bill would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected, which is generally in the timeframe of six weeks after conception.
“It’s unfortunate and disgraceful that the House has passed legislation to effectively ban abortion in the state of Texas,” said State Re. Erin Zwiener in a somber tone.
Senate Bill 8, which would ban abortions in about six weeks, even conception was from rape or if the fetus has health issues, passed the State House and Senate. SB 8 is awaiting two amendments to be signed off on by the Senate that would add some leniency to this bill.
Under SB 8, anyone in Texas can sue a woman who has an abortion or anyone accompanying or supporting it. For example, if a family member drives a women to an abortion clinic, the family member can be sued, Zwiener said. The doctor performing the abortion and the venue can also be sued.
“We believe this bill is unconstitutional,” Zwiener told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch, “and it is sending a strong message that representatives in Texas don’t value women’s ability to make their own decisions. And it’s going to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary lawsuits.”
This bill will also cause invasive and uncomfortable pregnancy testing, Zwiener said. To find the gestational age of a fetus before eight weeks of pregnancy, women must undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.
Zwiener said the bill would possibly increase the number of unsafe abortions becasue women would no longer have access to medically overseen abortions.
She foresees many groups and residents suing the state for this bill. She also believes that Abbott will most likely sign the bill.

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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