As a law banning abortions as early as six weeks gestation is scheduled to take effect in Texas next month, a professional coalition of abortion providers has announced that it will no longer financially support clinics that defy the legislation.
The National Abortion Federation, a professional association heavily engaged in pro-abortion advocacy, has announced that it would stop providing financial support to clinics that defy a law passed in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
The law, Senate Bill 8, also known as the “heartbeat bill,” will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected and will go into effect on Sept. 1.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the NAF alerted Texas clinics that it would remove support if they defy the law but would fund up to the total cost of abortions within the guidelines.
NAF Chief Executive Katherine Hancock Ragsdale said in an interview that her organization is working to create a “concierge team” to help Texas women obtain abortions.
“We, along with our members, are preparing for all scenarios in Texas," the federation elaborated in a Twitter post. "If this law moves forward, we will have to comply but that doesn’t mean we will stop helping folks access the abortion care that they need. We will never stop fighting. #TXDeservesBetter.”
We, along with our members, are preparing for all scenarios in Texas. If this law moves forward, we will have to comply but that doesn’t mean we will stop helping folks access the abortion care that they need. We will never stop fighting. #TXDeservesBetterhttps://t.co/TrX8R0VQsl— NAF (@NatAbortionFed) August 13, 2021
Senate Bill 8 will also enable private citizens to sue those who perform abortions and those who help women obtain abortions that violate the law.
Critics have characterized the provision of the law as an encouragement for people to put “bounties” on women who have had abortions.
Ragsdale agreed with that analysis, telling NBC News that “it’s bounty hunting.” She also characterized the law as “incentivized vigilantism,” adding “it’s part of a growing level and climate of vigilantism and violence that large chunks of the country feel is justified.”
“This kind of incentivized vigilantism isn’t just about abortion issues…It’s part of a growing level and climate of vigilantism and violence that large chunks of the country feel is justified.” -NAF President and CEO, @KatherineRagsdahttps://t.co/aGgSwjM91j— NAF (@NatAbortionFed) July 26, 2021
While pro-abortion groups have indicated that they plan to comply with the new law, Senate Bill 8 has already faced a court challenge. Texas Right to Life reports that a hearing is scheduled for Aug. 30, two days before the law is expected to take effect.
Multiple federal judges have ruled heartbeat bills passed in other states unconstitutional. Even though judges in Mississippi, Georgia, Missouri and Iowa have struck down heartbeat bills, that has not stopped additional states from passing similar measures.
The passage of Senate Bill 8 and the resulting litigation to stop it from taking effect comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to rule on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Pro-life advocacy groups see the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as a “landmark opportunity” to chip away at the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing that women have the right to obtain an abortion.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the case in its upcoming October term, which will begin this fall. A decision is expected at some point next spring. The Texas heartbeat bill is just one of several pro-life laws enacted at the state level in 2021, which the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute described as “the most devastating antiabortion state legislative session in decades.”
A report from the Guttmacher Institute found that in the first four months of 2021, over 500 pro-life bills were introduced in state legislatures across the U.S. An updated report from the abortion advocacy group found that by the middle of 2021, the number of pro-life laws passed at the state level this year had increased to 90.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org