Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Judiciary Act of 2021 now!

  • Action #1: Tell your legislators to vote “YES” on H.R. 3755/S.1975 – The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021
  • Action #2: Expand and rebalance this lawless Court with H.R. 2584/S.1141 – Judiciary Act of 2021. It no longer represents the American public.
  • Action #3: Print up some of our RBG postcards and demand that Texas-based corporations step up.
  • Action #4: Help fund non-profit organizations that help women access healthcare.
  • Action #5: Chat with Joe.

Action #1: Tell your legislators to vote “YES” on H.R. 3755/S.1975– The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021

An incredibly brave Texas doctor, Dr. Alan Braid, has crossed the line drawn by the Texas’ new and unconstitutional forced-birther bounty hunt law – SB8. 

Braid, who’s been practicing for more than 40 years, explained his decision as a matter of “duty of care.” [He] performed an abortion…on a patient who was still in her first trimester but further along than six weeks. That patient, he wrote, “has a fundamental right to receive this care.”

“I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care,” his piece concluded. “I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972,” which was before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade

Now Dr. Braid is facing two lawsuits, although one was filed to dismantle SB8. There is no time to waste on this. Even if you’ve already talked to your legislators about this issue, call them again. 

Minimal script for cosponsor: I’m calling from [zip code]. I want to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for cosponsoring [Rep. = H.R. 3755/Sen. = S.1975] – the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” Reproductive freedom should be universal, and we need federal legislation to ensure that it’s not subject to a patchwork of state laws. I expect Rep./Sen. [___] to explore all options to overturning this miscarriage of settled law, including removing the filibuster to ensure the rights of women to make decisions for themselves and their families. 

Minimal script for NON-cosponsor: I’m calling from [zip code]. I want to know why Rep./Sen. [___] hasn’t signed on yet as a cosponsor of  [Rep. = H.R. 3755/Sen. = S.1975] – the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” Reproductive freedom should be universal, and we need federal legislation to ensure that it’s not subject to a patchwork of state laws. I expect Rep./Sen. [___] to explore all options to overturning this miscarriage of settled law, including removing the filibuster to ensure the rights of women to make decisions for themselves and their families. 

  • Rep-check here: Reps. Brownley and Carbajal are cosponsors.
  • Senator-check here: Sens. Feinstein and Padilla are cosponsors.

Contact:

  • Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Action #2: Expand and rebalance this lawless Court with H.R. 2584/S.1141 – Judiciary Act of 2021. It no longer represents the American public. 

(More information on expanding SCOTUS in Senator Ed Markey’s press release in the RESOURCES section below)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code]and I want Sen./Rep. [___] to know that I’m furious with the Supreme Court’s refusal to defend 50 years of precedence regarding women’s right to reproductive choice for their own health and for their families. I want [him/her] to immediate cosponsor and support H.R. 2584/S.1141 – the “Judiciary Act of 2021“. This court no longer represents the interests of the majority of Americans. This shadow docket ruling, done with no notice or accountability, by right-wing dark-money-funded justices is enraging, as were their similar decisions supporting Trump’s cruel “Remain in Mexico” policy and their overriding of the CDC’s eviction moratorium duing a pandemic. This unelected, unrepresentative Supreme Court has gone rogue, and overthrowing Roe v. Wade is the last straw. We need to expand the court NOW to represent all 13 circuits and the needs of the American people.

  • Rep-check here: Neither are cosponsors yet.
  • Senator-check here: Neither are cosponsors yet.

Contact: (See above)

Action #3: Demand that Texas-based corporations step up.

UltraViolet created a great list of Texas-based companies with national profiles, some of which have even donated to the Texas politicans who sponsored SB8! Yesterday, 50 corporations signed on to a letter protesting SB8, but there’s seems to be no overlap with Ultraviolet’s list. You can write Ultraviolet’s silent CEOs full-on letters, or stay short and sweet with a postcard-sized demand to know what actions they’ve taken to protect the bodily autonomy of the women in their state. Or send some to your legislators if they’re not cosponsors of either of the above bills.

  • You can find postcards online – (random non-exhaustive web sampling here and here.) 
  • Or you can use our design.
    • Print them out on cardstock. (14) sheets are enough to cover Ultraviolet’s list.
    • Our postcard director still has some full sets to share (contact  ivpostcards@gmail.com)
    • Our awesome printer, [Ian at Cybercopy – (805) 642-3292] will make a full set for $9.
  • Here are a couple of sample scripts (below), probably the maximum anyone can cram on a postcard. However, it’s always better if it sounds like you.
    • It can be really short –
      • We know [what you did/that you’ve done nothing] so far in regards to SB8. What you are going to do to support the women of Texas?”
      • Citizens’ United said corporations were people. I’m waiting to see if you act like one and stand up for Texas women.
    • If you can work in how their actions now will affect your future choice of their company’s product or service, that’s great.

Action #4: Help fund non-profit organizations that help women access healthcare.

Women with means have always had safe reproductive options. SB8 will hurt the most vulnerable women in Texas. We can help.

How To Get An Abortion After Texas SB8:

  • Fund Texas Choice: Fund Texas Choice (FTC) was founded in response to Texas HB2, which shuttered the doors of over half of Texas’s abortion providers. FTC has been providing practical support to Texans since 2013, including home stays, transportation, and other logistical needs.
  • Clinic Access Support Network: Clinic Access Support Network (CASN) serves Houstonians who need practical support for their abortion care, such as rideshares, homestays, and other logistical needs.
  • The Bridge Collective: Like CASN, The Bridge Collective is based in Austin and San Antonio and exists to provide abortion care patients with rideshares, homestays, and other logistical-related needs. 
  • The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity: The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity provides financial assistance to patients in Central and Southern Texas, and may work with clinics outside of Texas for those needing to travel.
  • Texas Equal Access Fund: Texas Equal Access Fund (TEA Fund) provides financial assistance to patients in North Texas and may work with clinics outside of Texas for folks needing to travel.
  • Buckle Bunnies Fund: Buckle Bunnies provides financial assistance to patients in San Antonio and may be able to support Texans who must travel out of state. 
  • West Fund: West Fund provides financial assistance to people in West Texas, and like the other funds mentioned above, may also work with clinics outside of the state for those needing to travel. 
  • Frontera Fund: Frontera Fund may be able to provide financial and practical assistance to Texans, including those who must travel outside of the state to access the care they need.
  • National Abortion Federation: The National Abortion Federation provides referrals, information, and financial assistance to people seeking abortions nationwide. 
  • National Network of Abortion Funds: The National Network of Abortion Funds is a collective of abortion funds nationwide that may be able to assist Texans who are traveling out of state. Simply visit the website, navigate the funds through their integrated map, and contact groups in your area and the area you’re traveling to.
  • Planned Parenthood: For Texans traveling out of state to a Planned Parenthood, ask to be screened for the “Justice” funding when calling to schedule an appointment.
  • Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project WRRAP is a non-partisan, non-profit organization helping women gain access to safe, legal abortion services and emergency contraceptives. We work with pre-qualified, reputable reproductive health clinics across the U.S. on behalf of disadvantaged women in need.
  • secure.actblue.com/donate/txfunds – Abortion is Healthcare. Splits a donation between 10 Texas funds.
  • National Network of Abortion Funds: Redistribute Wealth. Fund Abortion. Build Power. Through the Collective Power Fund, we distribute grants to abortion funds, with a concentration on funds within the South and Midwest, where it’s often most difficult to access an abortion. 

The Collective Power Fund is a means of redistributing wealth, power, and access to local abortion funds and the people who call them. It is a radical investment in community care. 

Action #5: Chat with Joe.

Sample script: Dear Joe,

The right-wing dark-money donors have finally gotten what they’ve spent millions on – a Supreme Court confident enough in their power to use their shadow docket to overrule by inaction almost 50 years of constitutional precedence, silently removing the rights of women that were embodied in Roe v. Wade. The 7 million women affected by this in Texas are just the beginning. Only 13 states and Washington DC have laws that explicitly protect abortion rights.

It’s time for legal minds to get creative. Since the Court hasn’t officially dumped Roe v. Wade, please consider using the sovereign immunity of federal property as safe havens for women seeking reproductive care. Qualified immunity, the same shield that protects violent cops, could be extended to protect healthcare providers from private lawsuits arising out of the performance of their jobs – counseling women on their constitutional rights and providing other services attendant to those rights. All actual abortion services would either be free of charge or supported by donations to fit within the Hyde Amendment rules.

Tribal lands and land belonging to foreign nations are also locations with immunity from the state government of Texas.

In the meantime, please continue to emphasis the need to remove the filibuster, both for voting rights and the bodily sovereignty of women to our senators. We are calling them to push through both the Women’s Health Protection Act” and Sen. Markey’s “Judiciary Act” but nothing will pass with the filibuster in place.

It’s time to stop studying the expansion of the Court and start doing something about it before it deliberatly hobbles our Democratic legislature and executive branch. Expand it to cover all 13 circuit courts to rebalance it and start nominating candidates.

Contact: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

RESOURCES – Here’s where we explain this mess to ourselves…

Stop contributing to the demonization of Muslims who have nothing to do with Texas’ draconian laws.

Call out the traditional homegrown enemies to our democracy accurately.

Why is SB8 unconstitutional?

The right-wing-controlled Supreme Court lurched deeper into historical infamy by ignoring 50 years of precedent while sidestepping appeals against SB8, Texas unconstitutional forced-birth law. With two historically important rulings regarding a woman’s right to reproductive choice, the current Supreme Court simply didn’t show up, leaving a chaotic and unconstitutional piece of legislation in place. Cowards indeed.

Roe v. Wade: Roe v. Wade (1973) had a viability standard of 24 weeks, the point that a fetus can survive outside the womb. In 1992, the Supreme Court held in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that women have the right to abortion before fetal viability, and that states cannot legally impose an “undue burden,” or create “substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion,” before that time. (According to UpToDate, an online medical resource for physicians, many infants will live if delivered after 26 weeks of pregnancy, but almost none do if delivered before 22 completed weeks.)

Casey v. Planned Parenthood: Though less famous than Roe v. Wade, this was actually a more important case. In Casey, a more recent Supreme Court affirmed Roe’s abortion right, while broadening the states authority to regulate it.

In 1992, after much anticipation, the Supreme Court released a lengthy, multipart decision ruling that Roe v. Wade was affirmed but that the bulk of the Pennsylvania law’s requiring 24-hr waiting period and forced receipt of abortion information was constitutional nonetheless. Reiterating some of the reasoning in Roe, the Court first declared that a woman’s decision to get an abortion implicates important “liberty interests” and “privacy interests” that the Constitution’s Due Process Clause protects against state interference. Together, these interests form a “substantive right to privacy” that is protected from state interference in “marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education.” This right also protects the abortion decision, the Court again argued, because it implicates equally intimate questions of a woman’s personal autonomy, personal sacrifices, emotional and mental health, and fundamental right to define her life

With the constitutional right to an abortion reaffirmed, the Court next reiterated Roe’s ruling that, first, states could not ban abortions before the “viability” point (the point at which the fetus is able to sustain life outside the womb), and second, that in no case may states ban abortions that help preserve the life or health of the mother. The Court also rejected parts of Roe, holding that the state can legally pass laws protecting the life and health of the fetus or mother in far broader circumstances. For example, while in Roe the Court had held that the state could not regulate any aspect of abortions performed during the first trimester, the Court now held that states could pass such regulations affecting the first trimester, but only to safeguard a woman’s health, not to limit a woman’s access to abortions. In another change, the Court now held that, with the advance of life-preserving medicines, the point at which a fetus might become “viable” (the point at which states may constitutionally outlaw abortions) could be slightly before the third trimester. Finally, the Court proclaimed that any regulation that imposes a “substantial obstacle” preventing a woman from obtaining a legal abortion is an “undue burden” that violates the woman’s constitutional right to an abortion…

Back to 2021: SCOTUS has already taken a case that could gut abortion rights by June 2022.  Mississippi’s 2018 law – Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization would push the abortion limit to 15 weeks or less, more than 7 weeks before any possible viability. No lower court has yet claimed that, under current precedent, a state may outlaw abortions at 15 weeks. Even Trump-appointed Judge James Ho had to admit that binding precedent “establishes viability as the governing constitutional standard.” There is no reason for the Supreme Court to hear Dobbs unless it wants to abolish this standard, which has been the law of the land for almost 50 years. The justices rejected alternatives that would prevent violating Roe and agreed to consider the central question in the case: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

And then “Texas handed Kavanaugh and Barrett a gift.” First, Texas’ SB8 ignored Roe/Planned Parenthood’s viability requirements entirely, replacing it with an unconstitutional “heartbeat” standard of 6 weeks, when “a flicker of cardiac motion” can be detected in a transvaginal ultrasound in an embryo.” The law’s authors then created an Orwellian system of enforcement, where neighbors and lawyers could profit at the expense of women. This was a deliberate design to delay or prevent pre-enforcement challenges in federal courts. With no traditional government enforcement entities to sue, opponents will most likely have to wait until the law is used by a private citizen. Then the person sued could contest the constitutionality of the law, with the backing of abortion providers and abortion rights groups.

Then, the ultra-conservative Fifth Circuit court did the dirty work for SCOTUS by preventing a federal judge from blocking the ban and then cancelled an emergency hearing on its constitutionality, leading to the emergency petition to the Supreme Court. As a continuation of their shadow docket, the right-wing Supreme Court justices could eviscerate Roe months earlier without writing as much as a post-it note. All they had to do was nothing at all as the law took effect in Texas.

The conservative majority has spent several years amassing the power to intervene in any legal dispute that catches its eye. It has transformed the shadow docket into a roving veto. On Tuesday night, faced with a clear-cut violation of a nearly 50-year precedent—the rare instance of a state flouting constitutional precedent and getting away with it in the lower courts—the conservative justices declined to exercise this power. At a bare minimum, the monumental conflict over reproductive autonomy deserved a full and fair hearing in open court. Instead, the Supreme Court has let an established constitutional right die in the shadows.

Not all the Court was hiding however.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by her two liberal colleagues, called the majority’s order “stunning.”

“Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand. No federal appellate court has upheld such a comprehensive prohibition on abortions before viability under current law,” she wrote. “Taken together, the Act is a breathtaking act of defiance — of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”

Under normal circumstances a dissenting justice “respectfully dissents.” Sotomayor simply wrote, “I dissent” — revealing her deep frustration.

“The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law, ” she said.

Justice Stephen Breyer also omitted the “respectfully” from his dissent.

Alone among the conservatives, Chief Justice Roberts calls out the Texas law for what it is — a transparent attempt not just to undermine Roe, but to make it hard for such a restriction to be blocked,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. 

Many states, including Texas, have passed “trigger bills,” which would almost immediately outlaw all abortions within their borders if Roe is overturned.

Senator Ed Markey’s press release on why we need to expand SCOTUS with the Judiciary Act of 2021 here.

  • The number of justices is not a constitutional issue: “Nine justices may have made sense in the nineteenth century when there were only nine circuits, and many of our most important federal laws—covering everything from civil rights, to antitrust, the internet, financial regulation, health care, immigration, and white collar crime—simply did not exist, and did not require adjudication by the Supreme Court,” said Chairman Nadler. “But the logic behind having only nine justices is much weaker today, when there are 13 circuits. Thirteen justices for thirteen circuits is a sensible progression, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the Judiciary Act of 2021.”
  • Barrett & Kavanaugh shouldn’t be on the Court: “In 2016, then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate refused to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the high court, citing their opposition to consideration of Supreme Court nominations in an election year. Yet, a few years later in 2020, Senate Republicans broke their own rule in order to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett while Americans had already begun casting their votes in the presidential election. Republican appointees represent a 6-3 supermajority, and Republicans have appointed 15 of the last 19 justices to the bench.” Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed with the assistance of a corrupted FBI probe that didn’t interview his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and “failed to act on the 4,500 tips it received about then-nominee Kavanaugh.”
  • Its Shadow Docket is judicial abuse: We, the public, have assumed that the Court decided matters of national importance through extensive briefing, oral arguments and lengthy rulings that explain the law. Well, not since Trump stacked the Court with manipulators of the shadow dock rules, once reserved for emergencies. The enforcement of Trump’s cruel Remain in Mexico policy and the blocking of the CDC’s eviction moratorium “were issued in the dead of night…And despite the enormous legal and human impact that the decisions inflicted, they were the product of rushed, abbreviated proceedings. The court did not receive full briefs on these matters, heard no oral arguments and overrode the normal sequence of appellate proceedings to issue their orders.” 
    • Now this “shadow docket” has refused to block Texas’s blatantly unconstitutional SB8. Justice Kagan wrote “Today’s ruling illustrates just how far the Court’s ‘shadow-docket’ decisions may depart from the usual principles of appellate process. That ruling, as everyone must agree, is of great consequence. Yet the majority has acted without any guidance from the Court of Appeals — which is right now considering the same issues. It has reviewed only the most cursory party submissions, and then only hastily. And it barely bothers to explain its conclusion — that a challenge to an obviously unconstitutional abortion regulation backed by a wholly unprecedented enforcement scheme is unlikely to prevail. In all these ways, the majority’s decision is emblematic of too much of this Court’s shadow docket decision-making — which every day becomes more un-reasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend.
    • “If (the justices) can make significant decisions without giving any reasons, then there’s really no limit to what they can do,” said David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

How this law will affect women in Texas

Read the law here.

This is expected to affect 85% of women seeking abortion aid. 6 weeks is just shortly after most pregnant women miss their first period. For people with a regular menstrual cycle, that’s just two weeks after a missed period. Women with irregular periods probably won’t they are pregnant at this stage. After establishing this draconian timetable, SB8 then threatens to bankrupt all the people and institutions that can assist a woman to access the reproductive help she is entitled to under Roe v. Wade/Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s viability standards.

Supporters of this bill, such as John Seago of Texas Right to Life states that “These lawsuits are not against the women,” cold comfort to those facing pregnancies caused by rape, sexual abuse, incest, and fetal anomaly diagnoses, which are NOT EXEMPTED from this bill. There is also NO MINIMUM AGE, so pregnancies could affect young girls from 9 -16.

Women will be deprived of their bodily autonomy – i.e. the right to decide what’s best for themselves or their families (what anti-vaxx people call “FREEDOM”) unless they can drive hundreds of miles to reach an out-of-state facility, or to end their pregnancies without medical supervision.

(WaPo) “People of color will bear an outsized share of S.B. 8’s burdens, just as they already bear the brunt of Texas’s preexisting web of medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. Because of racialized income disparities, inequitable access to medical care and other facets of structural racism, people of color are more likely to need abortion care; are less likely to be able to afford out-of-state travel to obtain that care; and will suffer a greater threat of maternal mortality if forced to continue pregnancies against their wishes. People living in rural areas, young people (who already face delays under Texas’s parental consent law), and Texans with lower incomes will likewise face disproportionate harm.

How this law will effect those who “aid and abet” women in Texas

Read the law here.

After establishing this draconian and unconstitutional timetable, SB8 offers random strangers $10k bounties – not only on abortion providers who treat women after 6 weeks of pregnancy, but anyone else who “aids or abets” the procedure, including clinic staff, rape crisis counselors, physicians, abortion fund workers or simply a friend or family member who drives a patient to the clinic. Even clergy who support a patient’s decision to terminate or Uber drivers can be sued.

Research by the Texas Police Evaluation Project at the University of Texas of Austin shows that of those seeking abortion care in the state, 43 percent had someone drive them to the appointment and 57 percent had a friend or family member help pay for the abortion.

Not only can these vigilantes sue a clinic that performs a disqualifying abortion, they can obtain a court order shutting it down, affecting health care for all clinic patients. And if we think this is just a Texas-problem, it is possible that these lawsuits can extend past the borders of Texas, as well.

The law is set up to minimize the risk of suing, while removing protections from those being sued.

  • Location: From the defendants’ side, SB8 compounds the damage by allowing suits to be brought in any of Texas’s 254 counties at the plaintiff’s direction, barring the courts from transferring cases to more convenient locations or even where the offense was supposed to have occured.
  • Fee recovery: If the vigilante prevails,they get their costs and attorney’s fees covered — but if abortion providers and assisters successfully defend themselves, they have to cover all of their litigation costs, an unequal outcome.
  • Multiple suits: The law also allows abortion providers to be sued multiple times over a single abortion, while prohibiting them from defending on the ground that another court already found in their favor. Technically, one provider could be sued in every county by a coordinated pack of vigilantes. It is also possible that those who live outside Texas who help a woman obtain a safe abortion could be sued under this law and saddled with legal fees.
  • Suits can spread outside Texas: And if we think this is just a Texas-problem, it is possible that these lawsuits can extend past the borders of Texas, as well.
  • Profitability: The framers of this law may have been focusing on true forced-birther believers, but this will assuredly devolve into a feeding frenzy for those who see lawsuits as their only real path to riches.

Interestingly enough, the ONLY people not allowed to join this $10k bountyfeeding fest on providers, etc…, are people who’ve actually raped, sexually assaulted or committed incest on a person seeking a post-6-week appointment. However, they are apparently free to sue providers for other people fortunate enough not to know them.

Sec. 171.207.(j)  Notwithstanding any other law, a civil action under this section may not be brought by a person who impregnated the abortion patient through an act of rape, sexual assault, incest, or any other act prohibited by Sections 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code.

Be careful what you wish for, GOP.

Beyond harming women and those who care for them, the Supreme Court’s negligence could have far-reaching, unintended consequences, including undermining any constitutional right.

(WaPo) “If permitted to take effect, S.B. 8 would supply a ready blueprint for any state or locality looking to target federal rights they dislike. Today it is Texas banning abortion; tomorrow, New York could ban gun sales, permit anyone to sue gun buyers or sellers, and offer a five-figure bounty to entice endless private lawsuits. Post certain conservative sentiments on Facebook? A state could authorize lawsuits by anyone who saw your post. Same-sex couples could be sued by neighbors for obtaining a marriage license. Unpopular political groups could be barred from gathering under threat of vigilante lawsuits. The possibilities are endless.

Clarification of terms of ridiculous “heartbeat” bills.

6-week-old embryos have no actual heart.

Dr. Jen Gunter explains why the term “heartbeat” in these repressive bills is inaccurate and should not be used. Her discussion below is in reference to a “heartbeat” bill in Ohio.

It’s bad enough that these bills exist, but the press needs to do a better job of calling them what they are. If politicians want to play doctor they should be using medical terms. If they refuse to use the correct terminology the press should correct them. People who vote for the assholes who write these shit shows know them as “heartbeat bills” not because they follow them as they groan through committee, but because that is how they read or hear about them in the news. The politicians know exactly what they are doing  as a “heartbeat” bills is a way of making a 4 mm thickening next to a yolk sac seem like it is almost ready to walk.
Fetal cardiac activity can be detected as early at six weeks from the last menstrual period. The ultrasound [to the right] shows an image at 6 weeks and 1 day.

The fetal pole is between the two markers and is a thickening at the end of the yolk sac (the yolk sac is the circular blob) and contains the earliest ultrasound evidence of cardiac activity. I know some have wondered why not use the term embryo, but as it’s the fetal pole that is being measured I think the term “fetal” is technically fine.

However, when most people think of a heartbeat they don’t think of a 4.3 mm thickening next to a blob they think of something like this…

Anti-choice “embryo” image

The image [to the right] is a anti-choice version of an embryo, obviously not a faithful representation of size or appearance. If you want a real picture for comparison check out this link.

No one passing these laws gives a shit about the medicine or the science or the statistics. Really, they don’t. If they did these laws wouldn’t exist and there would be laws providing free long-acting reversible contraception because that’s actually what works. I really believe the assholes in Ohio who voted for the fetal pole cardiac activity bill truly believe that the more than 21,000 women in Ohio who get abortions each year are just doing so because the greedy doctors who run the abortion spa at the mall have frequent BOGOs on pleasure abortions and if these little women just had a firmer hand from the patriarchy they would see the error of their ways…

...While the press doesn’t write bills or pass laws they do pass on information or in this case subtle misinformation. Using “heartbeat” anywhere in a piece, but especially in the headline, even in quotations is not appropriate. It’s no different from allowing a neo Nazi to self identify as alt-right.

The earliest cardiac activity is seen in a fetal pole and using any other term means that you are lock step with a campaign of misinformation and it’s wrong.

The politicians who write these bills are dealing in misinformation and the press should refuse to play the game.

Texas SB 8 terms.

Hill, M.A. (2021, September1)
Actual 6 week embryo 



SB8 text here.

Section 3, Subchapter H. “Detection of Fetal Heartbeat”

Sec. 171.201 “Definitions”

(1) “Fetal heartbeat” means cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac.

Section 171.202. Legislative findings

(1) fetal heartbeat has become a key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth:
(2) cardiac activity begins at a biologically identifiable moment in time, normally when the fetal heart is formed in the gestational sac.

Sec. 171.203.  DETERMINATION OF PRESENCE OF FETAL HEARTBEAT

REQUIRED; RECORD.  (a)  For the purposes of determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat under this section, “standard medical  practice” includes employing the appropriate means of detecting the heartbeat based on the estimated gestational age of the unborn child and the condition of the woman and her pregnancy.

Sec. 171.208.  CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATION OR AIDING OR ABETTING VIOLATION.

(3)(e) Notwithstanding any other law, the following are not a defense to an action brought under this section:

(1) – (7) (None refer to religious exemptions from this law…)

It’s not a “heartbeat“: As Dr. Gunter states, what is “heard” at 6 weeks is “fetal pole cardiac activity.” This flutter happens because the group of cells that will become the future “pacemaker” of the heart gain the capacity to fire electrical signals, says Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.

Hearing it guarantees nothing: Although a lot of weight seems to be put on the detection of this flutter, “by no means does it translate to viability of the heart” or viability of the pregnancy, says Dr. Saima Aftab.

It’s not a “heartuntil way later: British researchers analyzed scans of the hearts of healthy fetuses in the womb and found that the heart has four clearly defined chambers in the eighth week of pregnancy, but does not have fully organized muscle tissue until the 20th week, much closer to the Roe v. Wade definition of viability of 24 weeks.

Go old school. Refuse the ultrasound: The only reason a doctor can “hear” the “little flutter in the area that will become the future heart of the baby” is through modern technology like an ultrasound. The “beat” isn’t audible to doctors through a stethoscope placed on a woman’s belly this early on in her pregnancy – they would not hear a heartbeat, Aftab told Live Science.

It’s been only in the last few decades that doctors have even been able to detect this flutter at six weeks, thanks to the use of more-sophisticated ultrasound technologies, Aftab said. Previously, the technology wasn’t advanced enough to detect the flutter that early on in pregnancy.

Try claiming a religious exemption: First, join a science-based religious group such as the Satanic Temple.

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