On September 1st, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8), the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban, to go into effect. S.B. 8 bans abortions at 6 weeks and the impact of the law will be immediate and devastating for people in Texas. By eliminating the chance to obtain an abortion before the time many people learn they’re pregnant, S.B. 8 continues an unprecedented assault on our fundamental freedoms and attacks basic healthcare access for over half the population. The law actively encourages citizens to report patients seeking abortions and anyone who assists them to obtain care, by offering abortion “bounty hunters” as much as $10,000 for every suit they file. The law amplifies the effects of structural racism and existing inequities in health care, and will disproportionately impact those who already struggle to access and afford health care: people of color, immigrants, young adults, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and residents of rural communities.

S.B. 8 has already proved far more destructive than previous abortion bans. Under the auspices of empowering individuals, the Texas 6-week abortion ban sets a dangerous precedent that threatens to bankrupt abortion clinics and terrorize individual providers across the country, a possibility that has now been increased by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let the bill become law. The Court’s “shadow docket” maneuver now opens the door for other states to weaponize their own litigation systems, undermining the rule of law and blatantly ignoring the viability standard established by the Roe and Casey decisions.

We at RHEDI condemn S.B. 8 because it threatens the health of people seeking abortion services and the future of our health care system. The right to safely access abortion care is fundamental to our health care and our Constitution. Abortion is one of the most common services physicians provide and is an integral part of primary care for millions of Americans.

RHEDI stands in solidarity with healthcare providers in Texas impacted by this law and will continue to work with family medicine providers around the country to ensure access to safe abortion services. We call upon the Courts, Congress, and the Biden Administration to take immediate action to ensure that Texans and citizens across the country retain access to their basic health care and their constitutional rights.

The RHEDI Team

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Established in 2004, Reproductive Health Education in Family Medicine (RHEDI) works to expand the abortion-trained workforce in family medicine and promote access to patient-centered sexual and reproductive health services.