Texas district court judge hears over a dozen challenges to abortion law

In a Travis County district court Wednesday, the debate continued over Senate Bill 8, also known as the Heartbeat Bill. The ban makes it illegal in Texas for a woman to receive an abortion after 6 weeks.

It also allows private individuals to sue abortion providers or those who aid in the procedure.

"Saying that they think abortion is wrong is not illegal, advocating for the legislature to pass SB8 is not illegal, creating a website that asks people to submit evidence of violations of the law is not illegal," the defendants argued.

The back and forth in the courtroom continued all day.

"What they are not free to do is threaten to enforce an unconstitutional law against my clients that has the effect of not only threatening a constitutional violation to my clients but thousands of pregnant Texans who need abortions," said an attorney for the plaintiffs.

Before the hearing, those challenging the ban spoke out. "It's a terrifying feeling to not feel in control of your own body or future," said Briana McLennan, Texas Equal Access Fund abortion storyteller, and social worker.

Advocates say that many women who are seeking an abortion in Texas have had to leave the state. "We have turned a blind eye on the people of Texas," said Anna Rupani, Fund Texas Choice Co-Executive Director.

And these women must add in travel costs for sometimes up to 2 days. They said that this is only accessible for those who have excess money to spend. Therefore, making it a violation of rights.

"When you allow a country to take away one of your rights, they can take away all of your rights," said Marsha Jones, The Afiya Center Executive Director.  

Back in the courtroom, arguments about SB8 and its constitutionality are still ongoing. "Senate Bill 8 challenges the entirety of our legal system," plaintiffs argued. "The state has chosen to give the right to any person because they know they can't do it."

The defendants once again arguing just because you don't agree with the law doesn't give you ground to sue. "The plaintiffs are obviously very upset by this law," they said. "But, that doesn't mean they have the standing to sue these defendants."

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