Last updated on September 20th, 2021 at 08:33 am
The Preamble to the United States Constitution begins with “We the people…”
But at no other time in the history of legalized abortion in the country–now spanning some five decades–have the words resonated with such hope for the pro-life movement.
As the clock struck midnight Wednesday in Texas, the US Supreme Court did not intervene in the state banning abortions six weeks into pregnancy. It is without a doubt the closest the nation has come to abolishing Roe V. Wade. And perhaps nobody has summed up the development quite as well as lawyer Danny Cevallos who told NBC, “This law is either brilliant or diabolical, depending on which side of the debate you’re on.”
And why? Because ‘they, the people’ have essentially been deputized to enforce SB 8, not Texas state officials. And the nation is paying attention.
Unlike other states’ pro-life laws, it is Joe and Josephine Pro-Lifer who now have the ability to sue an abortion provider or anyone who may have assisted in procuring an abortion after the 6-week limit. And the penalty is considerable; individuals can seek financial damages of up to $10,000 per defendant.
This also gives new meaning to the phrase “the wild, wild west”. And it is wild, because precedent has always seen the Supreme Court prevent states from banning abortion before viability (usually, at about 22 to 24 weeks). As pro-aborts lamented in a brief to the Washington Post, SB 8 “unquestionably contravenes” said precedent and is “something that has never been allowed to occur in any other state of the nation in the decades since Roe.”
But Texas had hit the ground running. Since the middle of August, all 11 Planned Parenthoods in the state stopped scheduling abortions past six weeks after September 1st. “This law has been wreaking havoc for weeks,” said Ianthe Metzger, who heads state media campaigns for Planned Parenthood.
But for pro-lifers, this kind of development has been way too long in the making. Said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, “The American people are eager to humanize our extreme, outdated abortion laws… We stand with Texas and hope that, soon, the Court will finally unshackle all states to protect the most vulnerable among us.”