Texas Senate Bill 8 (“SB 8”), also known as “The Texas Heartbeat Act,” went into effect on September 1, 2021, banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy or after the fetus’s heartbeat has been detected. Additionally, it awards any civilian who successfully reports someone for aiding, abetting, or performing an abortion after the six-week mark with $10,000. The United States Supreme Court, as Justice Sotomayor described, “buried their heads in the sand” and decided not to comment on the abortion ban’s constitutionality under the guise of a technicality. Historically, abortion bans have been death penalties to many people seeking abortions and contribute up to thirteen percent of pregnancy-related deaths. Abortion bans do not reduce the number of abortions, but rather reduce the number of safe abortions while increasing avoidable deaths. Abortion bans work as a form of dangerous regulatory mechanisms that function as the state-sanctioned killing of poor people who are often Black, Brown, and indigenous who cannot travel outside the state to receive care.
With the recent change of New York’s abortion law, legislators granted women the affirmative right to abortions under the state’s public-health law. Under the Reproductive Health Act, restrictions on abortion past twenty-four weeks are removed legalizing abortion up until the day of birth. This bill was passed on the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. The new bill comes as a reaction to the confirmation of conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, giving protection to women’s access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Proving to be very controversial, the change has advocates and critics at odds with its potential future effects.
Illinois Public Act 100-0538, commonly referred to as House Bill 40, was signed into law on September 28, 2017. The Act repeals provisions in existing Illinois laws that aim to make abortion illegal should there be any change to the federal standard. Additionally, the Act lifts a ban on insurance coverage for abortions for low-income individuals enrolled in Medicaid. While enacting House Bill 40 was a win for advocates of reproductive rights in Illinois, the state will still need to comply with federal anti-abortion laws, such as the Hyde Amendment.