‘Heartbeat bill’ sparks debate


Online Editor

Students are speaking out about the new Texas law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. The law is unique in that it deputizes private citizens to sue anyone they believe provided or aided in an abortion after the detection of a heartbeat and collect $10,000 if the lawsuit is successful. Patients now have two weeks after a missed period to confirm the pregnancy, find a provider and schedule the procedure before a heartbeat is detected, making an abortion extremely difficult, if not impossible to attain. 

“I personally believe this law is not right,” Alely Martinez, a psychology major, said. “Women should have the right to decide what they do with their bodies. I’m not for abortion but I’m not against it. I am pro-choice. You should have the option to do it without punishment.”

The United States Supreme Court did not vote to block the Texas ban.

“The Supreme Court not hearing it is different from them letting it proceed,” Aaron Faver, a professor of social sciences, said. “An advocate would really need to be putting pressure on the Senate, the House of Representatives and the President, instead of throwing tomatoes at the Supreme Court because they can’t stop state level activity,” he said. 

The House of Representatives passed a bill Sept. 24 called The Women’s Health Protection Act. The purpose of the bill is to cement the decision of Roe v. Wade, protecting a person’s right to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability without interference from state restrictions. The bill needs to pass through the Senate and the President before it is signed into a law that the Supreme Court can defend.

“I don’t agree with abortion, but I think everybody has the right to make their decision, and just because I disagree doesn’t mean I should make the choice for anybody else,” Addison Murray, a nursing major, said.

At midnight, after the law banning abortion went into effect, many clinics in Texas stopped performing the procedure and stopped making new appointments.

“I am personally very against abortion, I’m pro-life because of my religious beliefs,” Sarah Amstutz, a mass media major, said. “However, I don’t agree with the abortion law. I believe that people are going to make some really unhealthy choices to fix unplanned pregnancies that could result in bodily harm, that concerns me.”

Amstutz criticized Governor Abbott for signing the controversial bill into law.

“I feel like Governor Abbott is trying to have a pissing contest with the rest of the country,” Amstutz said. “I disagree with a lot of his policies. There are children being exposed to COVID in the schools right now, and he said that you can’t make somebody wear a mask and then made abortion after you can detect a heartbeat illegal. To me it just doesn’t make sense.”

The law makes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for cases of rape or incest. During a news conference Sept. 7, Governor Abbott addressed this by saying “Rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.”

The United States Justice Department announced Sept. 9 that it would be suing the state of Texas, and a federal judge will conduct a hearing Oct. 1 to review a possible temporary banning of the law. 

“The law just went into place so there are no damages to prove in the lawsuit yet,” Faver said. “It’s very likely that the Department of Justice will have a difficult time arguing if there are no damages. It’s complicated by the simple fact that it’s so early right now. We’re going to have to wait and see.”

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