On Sept. 21, 666 laws were passed in Texas. One of these prohibits physicians from providing abortions if they detect a fetal heartbeat, which will include embryonic cardiac activity, something that can occur as early as six weeks of pregnancy. Not only that, but the law permits citizens to create civil suits and sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion. This can occur from Texas resident to Texas resident, or even across state borders. Out of state residents can sue a Texan who aids someone in getting an abortion, and could also be sued for helping a Texan get an abortion. This is the Heartbeat Act.
Journalism major Katie Kallamni was sad when she first heard the law passed.
“We’re not going in the right direction. I’m pro-choice, and this takes away people’s choice,” Kallamni said.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, all people are being called on to the National Women’s March in lieu of these new laws. The march will be held in at least every capitol for each state, and in many other locations throughout most states. For New York, there are currently 15 locations for the march, including Albany, with the closest being in Glens Falls. The marches will take place at 2 p.m., and addresses can be found on the Women’s March website.
“I personally don’t support abortions, but I also think it’s a personal choice,” junior Kaeli Brack said.
In 1973, Roe v. Wade ruled that the point after which a state is able to regulate abortion is “at approximately the end of the first trimester.” In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, declaring that the standard for abortion acess is at fetal viabiliability, when the fetus has the ability to survive outside the womb. Viability is usually around 28 weeks, but can be as early as 24 weeks. Previous to this new Texas law, while many states had attempted, nowhere in the United States banned abortions earlier than 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Emma Corbett, director of communications for Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, spoke about the new laws as well as Planned Parenthood’s response.
“Our colleagues in Colorado and New Mexico are already seeing people who have the means to cross state lines to get care,” she said. “There is going to be a real outsized impact on people in poverty, those who can’t afford to travel, communities of color, LGBTQ people. Let’s not forget that trans people can be pregnant, non-bianary people can be pregnant, so it’s really important for people in the media to use inclusive language when we are talking about people who can experience pregnancy.”
While those seeking abortions in Texas may feel trapped, “Here in New York, a patient from Texas or any other state that need to seek care is going to get the care that they need,” Corbett said.
“It’s always good to raise awareness,” said Kallamni when asked about the importance of the Women’s march in states other than Texas.
Similarly, Corbett said, “We know for a fact that other states are looking at this law as a blueprint.”