I was shocked when I read an article by The Washington Post mentioning a new Texas anti-choice state law. Hoping it was too terrible to be true, I decided to conduct further research to determine if this news was accurate. My search led me to Texas Legislature Online, where I found a PDF of the enrolled version for 87(R) SB 8. This act, which takes effect Sept. 1 of this year and “shall be known as the Texas Heartbeat Act,” will reward everyday citizens a minimum of $10,000 for reporting women who have abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, as well as the people who aid and abed them.
Not only is 87(R) SB 8 an invitation for hateful “pro-life” snoops to harass, spy, extort and partake in other vengeful behavior towards women, but it is also an incredible misuse of Texas state funds. If Texas can afford to award tens of thousands of dollars to people for tattle-telling, then why doesn’t it spend the money on education or health care, two categories the state ranks poorly in, according to U.S. News & World Report? Why do the state officials who passed this heinous law care more about ensuring the births of unborn children instead of ensuring that the children of Texas already born are healthy and well-educated? Is it because they’re a bunch of hypocritical Bible-thumping misogynists? I’m sure I don’t know.
Texas is not the first state to pass a “heartbeat bill,” and I’m afraid it won’t be the last. With more than 200 lawmakers in the U.S. urging S.C.O.T.U.S. to overturn Roe v. Wade, it seems like there’s a war against women’s rights and privacy upon us. 87(R) SB 8 and other acts like it are an affront to human decency, and a chilling reminder that the dystopian future Margaret Atwood imaged in The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t as far-fetched as one would hope. I don’t know if we can stop what’s happening in Texas or reverse what’s already happened in the other states that enforce “heartbeat bills,” but I know we can fight against such actions in our own communities here in New Jersey.