Since a Texas law banning abortions more than six weeks into a pregnancy went into effect on Sept.1, activists, abortion providers and various members of the UM community have contested the legality of what is one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
“There’s no question that the Texas law is a flagrant violation of current Supreme Court jurisprudence,” said Dr. Caroline Corbin, a constitutional law professor at UM. “However, what Texas did is make it really hard to challenge the law in federal court.”
The law allows Texans to sue anyone allegedly involved with performing an abortion, including doctors and nurses.
“It specifically said no state official can enforce this law. Only private individuals may bring a lawsuit,” said Corbin, who previously worked at the ACLU’s Women’s Freedom Reproductive Project. “It is still not clear which private individuals are going to take it upon themselves to bring a lawsuit.”
One female student said she feels as if this law takes away females’ bodily autonomy, especially considering the fact that it was enacted by the male Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“I feel like a lot of the legislature is rooted in a misogynistic type of patriarchy,” said Emma Miller, a junior majoring in ecosystem science and policy and Spanish from Cincinnati, Ohio. “It makes me not feel represented by my legislators, who for the most part are mostly male and don’t share the perspective that a female might have on the issue.”
One prominent issue many have raised with the law is the fact that there are no provisions in the bill regarding rape and incest. In many other anti-abortion bills, there have been provisions in the law stating that the ban does not include cases regarding rape and incest.
“Rape and incest can be an incredibly traumatic experience for a women,” said Miller. “It frustrates me the most.”
Students for Life Miami, a pro-life student organization at UM, declined to comment on the bill.
While the law has been prominently covered by the national media, a bill was introduced in the Florida State Legislature that mirrors the law just passed in Texas. Like the heartbeat bill, it was drafted by a predominantly male legislature and supported by pro-life male Florida Governor Ron Desantis.
“He is taking on women and threatening their health,” said Donna Shalala, former UM President and Florida District 27 Congresswoman. “He wants to interfere in personal decisions of families in our state, and these are very personal decisions, they are painful decisions.”
Another case on the Supreme Court’s docket challenges a law in Mississippi and will be heard starting on Dec. 3. The law bans abortions in the state after 15 weeks, less than the 24-week limit decided under Roe V. Wade.
“We will see whether they stick with precedent,” Shalala said. “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Anna Coon contributed to the reporting for this article.