As Mayor of the City of West Hollywood – the nation’s first pro-choice city – I’m outraged at the near-total abortion ban that has gone into effect in Texas, despite legal efforts to block it. The enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 8 is shameful. The law bans abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy, making it one of the most dangerous anti-abortion laws in recent history. Six weeks of pregnancy is well before many women even know they are pregnant. Clinics in Texas will immediately be forced to turn away people seeking a procedure and the law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.
Especially disturbing is that the new Texas law empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates it. Women seeking abortion and people who assist them will, quite literally, be hunted for bounty in Texas simply for seeking access to reproductive health services. Their support networks, including family members, friends, and medical professionals, will also be under attack, with $10,000 rewards being offered for turning in anyone involved in seeking access to abortion. Private citizens who bring such lawsuits will not need to show a connection to those they are suing.
This goes beyond a violation of privacy; the Texas law institutes state-sanctioned discrimination and hatred towards people seeking safe access to reproductive healthcare. We know this law will not stop people from seeking abortion; it will only put them in greater danger while doing so.
We are ashamed by the Texas state legislators who passed this heinous law and we are deeply disappointed at the silence from the US Supreme Court and its abject failure to act. All women everywhere deserve control over our bodies, our decisions, and our lives.
The City of West Hollywood has continually supported state and federal legislation protecting and advancing women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare. West Hollywood will always be a safe refuge for people seeking a full range of reproductive health care services. We must remain vigilant in guarding a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.