Starting on August 25, Texas authorities began enforcing the state’s undemocratic “trigger law” that bans all abortions. This cruel policy criminalizes any attempt to provide an abortion. And considering the bans existing in nearby states, the Texas state government’s actions have regional implications, consolidating a vast “no abortion zone” in the country that makes traveling to a jurisdiction where abortion is legal even more difficult.
Texas is one of 13 states that have outlawed abortion following the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade by the unelected Supreme Court. In the two months since that decision, one in three women have lost abortion access in the state where they live.
Abortion is supported by the vast majority of people in the United States and Texas. A June opinion poll by the University of Texas found that only 37 percent of Texans support the trigger law. We must build a mass movement against the enforcement of unpopular anti-abortion laws, and demand legalization of abortion once and for all!
The Texas “trigger law” – HB1280 – passed in 2021, establishes that anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion will face first or second-degree felonies, which carry penalties ranging from 20 years to life in prison. Punishment includes fines of at least $100,000. Another Texas law – SB8 – passed the same year, allows anti-abortion individuals to sue for $10,000 anyone who “aids and abets” another person to get an abortion.
Additionally, anti-abortion laws added to the Texas penal code in 1857 before the Civil War and recodified in 1925 – known as the “pre-Roe statutes” – will also once again become the law of the land. In other words, anti-abortion laws from 1857, four years before Texas joined the pro-slavery Confederacy, can now be used in 2022.
Ruling-class politicians and local law enforcement in Texas are preparing a relentless crackdown on women and anyone seeking an abortion. Clinics have closed. Abortion funds have stopped paying for out-of-state procedures because of the huge threat posed by massive financial penalties. Governor Greg Abbott has asserted that other democratic and social rights are on the chopping block, including LGBTQ and immigrants’ rights.
The scale of the crisis cannot be overstated. And yet, the Democratic-controlled White House has taken no emergency action to make abortions available at federal facilities. Nothing is stopping them except their own political will. Instead of taking emergency action and being willing to go to court if necessary, Democratic Party elites have settled on using abortion as a talking point to win the upcoming midterm election. It must be remembered that for 50 years, the Democratic Party refused to codify abortion rights into law at the federal level, despite repeatedly having the power to do so.
What we need is an independent people’s movement with a bold political and legal strategy, one that works hand-in-hand with providers and direct aid networks.
Thousands of people across the state of Texas have already organized to get their city councils to pass resolutions – collectively referred to as the “GRACE Act” – against the enforcement of anti-abortion laws. These resolutions do not change the law. They do not “decriminalize” abortion locally. But they do force public officials to go on public record against enforcement, which does give the people leverage to hold city and county politicians accountable.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation joined the struggle to get a version of the “GRACE Act” passed by San Antonio’s City Council. Next, we are calling for the same to be done for Bexar County.
We must not stop at non-binding resolutions. We will build a mass movement to legalize abortion federally!