While it may seem like Republicans wish The Handmaid’s Tale was reality rather than a dystopian fantasy, Texas is actually making moves to bring Margaret Atwood’s story to life. They regularly pass (or at the very least present) legislation that harms the poor, the LGBTQI+ community, and women, and their latest bill is no different. In fact, they’ve gone so far as to offer $10,000 rewards to anyone to turns in a woman seeking an abortion.
The law comes into force on September 1st. The Texas Heartbeat Act passed through state legislature back in May, meaning that as of September 1, anyone who knows a woman who wants to get an abortion for any reason could turn her into authorities for a cash reward. Sure, that sounds like a great idea!
But wait, that’s not all! The act also means that private citizens will be able to sue private medical companies for giving abortions if a heartbeat is detected. The person who reports that would also be granted $10k, even if they don’t live in Texas.
Healthcare providers are also subject to litigation. According to the pro-choice group Women’s March nurses, surgery providers, and even friends and family members of women who seek abortions can be sued by private citizens. What the hell?
Texas laws were already backward, but this is downright dangerous. Texas already banned abortions after six weeks even if the woman was the victim of rape or incest, but this new law makes it downright dangerous to be a woman. As Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubi points out, “Consider the potential for harassment, spying, extortion and other vengeful behavior directed toward women. The law depends on what others know about her reproductive health and are willing to tell the authorities to grab a $10,000 bounty.”
Critics of the law want it changed before September. While that’s unlikely to happen, it’s important to keep up the fight. The rights of women are being erased and eroded every single day and we can’t allow it to happen.