Editorial: A War on Women’s Reproductive Rights


Océane Jones

A poster for the Peaceful Rally for Abortion Justice on October 2nd at 11 am in Paepcke Park.

Senate Bill 8, (SB-8), the Texas law which bans nearly all abortions, went into effect on September 1st.

Since the ’70s, most states have blocked laws banning abortion before 20-24 weeks of pregnancy, when fetusues are considered viable or most likely to survive. However, in Texas, Senate Bill 8 now bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, when 85 to 90 percent of abortions happen, according to the New York Times, and has no exceptions for rape or incest.

The SB-8 law is enforceable in an unprecedented way, authorizing private citizens to sue anyone who “aides” in an abortion, including a woman’s doctor, family, and friends, and even the person who drives her to the clinic. People who are involved can also sue the woman receiving the abortion.

If the case succeeds, the plaintiff is entitled to $10,000, which could give people, known as “bounty hunters”, an incentive to trick pregnant women by pretending to support their abortion in order to gain the financial reward.

What is Senate Bill 8 (SB-8)?

SB-8 alleges that the ‘fatal heartbeat’ is detectable at six weeks, but health officials have disagreed with this statement. Also, according to the American Pregnancy Association, most women don’t know that they are pregnant at this stage.

Doctors say that when a woman misses her period she is already 4 weeks pregnant, giving her only “…two weeks to recognize her condition, confirm the pregnancy with a test, make a decision about how to manage the pregnancy, and obtain an abortion.”, according to the New York Times.

In addition to forcing abrupt decisions about abortion, SB-8 is a threat to female health because it does not promote fewer abortions, but more illegal abortions.

After the death of two women due to unsafe abortion, an Argentinian doctor said that, “Illegality forces the poorest women to use the most desperate practices,” in an article by The Atlantic.

Regards to the Constitution:

SB-8 is unconstitutional, as a citizen’s civil rights are protected under Amendment 14 of the Constitution, and according to Roe v. Wade (1973), a women’s right to an abortion is protected under these civil rights.

SB-8 directly goes against this ruling, and thus, against the Supreme Court’s recent interpretations of the Constitution regarding abortions as a civil right. For these reasons, SB-8 is unconstitutional.

However, the Supreme failed to block the law on September 1st, with the abbreviated process known as the shadow docket used for “emergency” cases.

Justice Elena Kagan opposed this process, saying that “…the majority’s decision is emblematic of too much of this Court’s shadow docket decisionmaking.”

This is not an experiment, and the Supreme Court must prevent legislation that directly defies the Constitution, the very document that our counties’ laws are founded upon.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her dissent that the law was “plainly unconstitutional”, and Justice John Roberts, who is Conservative, also said, “The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the State from responsibility for implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime,”.

The failure of the Supreme Court-appointed Justices, specifically Ruth Badger Guisberg’s replacement Amy Coney Barrett, to block this law shows their incapability to uphold the laws of the United States Constitution.

Threat to Colorado:

Conservative states have been trying to pass destructive laws limiting abortion access for years, but these have always been blocked under US constitutional precedents. However, due to the fact that the Court is no longer upholding Roe vs. Wade, all states now have the ability to restrict abortion to a higher extent, with states such as Florida considering “similar” laws.

Colorado is a swing state and we must show our local and state governments that we do not stand to see our reproductive rights taken away.

We, as editors of the Skier Scribbler, believe that all women deserve equal access to health care and reproductive rights to fight for a world where political beliefs do not govern people’s bodies.

Come to the women’s march on October 2nd at Paepcke Park to show your support of women’s reproductive rights, and help us protect safe abortion in our beloved Colorado!