Florida, South Carolina may be next to follow Texas’ lead on abortion ban as celebrities react


Other right-leaning states – including Florida and South Carolina – may be the next to follow Texas‘ newly-implemented ‘heartbeat’ bill, as the new law drew criticism from U.S. celebrities. 

Florida State Senator Wilton Simpson said in a Thursday statement that it could be ‘worthwhile to take a look at the Texas law and see if there is more we can do here in Florida.’  

Simpson was backed by Governor Ron DeSantis said, who said he’d mull a ban.

Texas Right to Live legislative director John Seago told Forbes that South Carolina was also considering an abortion bill.

The states – which like Texas both have Republican governors  – could follow the lead of the ‘Texas Heartbeat Act,’ which took effect earlier this week and bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected at about six weeks gestation.

The Supreme Court upheld the ban Wednesday, and now states such as Florida and South Carolina are looking to follow the Lone Star State’s lead in restricting reproductive rights.

Swaths of celebrities are lashing out against Texas’s abortion law, ‘I stand with the women of Texas who have the Constitutional right to make decisions about their health and their own bodies,’ actress Reese Witherspoon told her nearly 3 million followers. 

Singer P!nk says she's worried Texas' abortion ban 'will be the blueprint for bans' throughout the nation.

Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon (left) and P!nk (right) are using their massive social media followings to condemn Texas’ recent abortion ban

Added actress Eva Longoria Baston to her 6.8 million followers: ‘It’s pretty simple. We should all be able to make decisions about our health and future.

‘But between (Texas’s extreme abortion ban and states passing a record number of abortion restrictions this year, we have to fight for everyone’s reproductive freedom.’

The ‘Texas Heartbeat Act,’ which took effect earlier this week, bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks, before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant.

Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan dissented. The other justices – all appointed by Republican presidents – allowed the law to stand. From left: Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Stephen Breyer, Amy Coney Barrett, and Sonia Sotomayor

 The Supreme Court formally refused Wednesday to block the nation’s most restrictive reproductive rights legislation took effect in the southern state. 

The legislation makes no exceptions for rape or incest and allows Texans to report people, including Uber drivers, who help or take women to get abortions. The only exemption is if a woman’s health could be jeopardized by carrying a baby to term.  

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who signed the legislation into law, told CNBC that Tesla mogul Elon Musk was in support of the state’s ‘social policies’ 

He said: ‘Elon had to get out of California because in part of the social policies in California. Elon consistently tells me that he likes the social policies in the state of Texas.’ 

But the SpaceX relucted to publicly condemn the law, saying: ‘In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness.

‘That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics.’  

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the legislation, which took effect Wednesday, into law

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the legislation, which took effect Wednesday, into law

Tesla's Elon Musk is a fan of Texas' social policies, according to the state's governor

Tesla’s Elon Musk is a fan of Texas’ social policies, according to the state’s governor

Wilton Simpson, Florida senate president, told reporters the legislation warranted exploring elsewhere, too.

‘Abortion kills children and forever changes the life of the mother, the father, and the entire extended family,’ Simpson said in a statement obtained by the Naples Daily News.

‘As an adoptive child myself, it’s important to me that we do everything we can to promote adoption and prevent abortion; therefore, I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at the Texas law and see if there is more we can do here in Florida.’

 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he, too, might be keen to criminalize abortions.

‘What they did in Texas is interesting and I haven’t really been able to look at enough about it,’ DeSantis told reporters. ‘It’s a little bit different than how a lot of these debates have gone, so we will have to look. I am going to look more significantly at it.’

Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart called calling Texas’ abortion ban ‘an intrusive and draconian restriction of women’s constitutional rights.

‘This is a direct attack on reproductive rights by leaders who care more about politics than the health and wellbeing of women,’ Stewart said in a statement. ‘That should make all of us willing to fight.’

Florida Sen. Linda Stewart said she opposed such a 'draconian restriction' in her state

Florida Sen. Linda Stewart said she opposed such a ‘draconian restriction’ in her state

Texas Right to Live legislative director John Seago told Forbes that South Carolina was also mulling an abortion bill.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Southeastern state made such an attempt.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in February the ‘South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,’ which have banned abortions once a heartbeat could be detected. Unlike Texas, it would make exceptions for victims of incest or rape.

Singer P!nk has also spoken out against abortion bans.

‘I stand in solidarity with people in (Texas) who, as of today, face an extreme 6-week abortion ban,’ she tweeted.

‘This ban… will be the blueprint for bans across the US. Unless we do something about it.’

Roe v. Wade: The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade. The landmark ruling legalized abortion nationwide but divided public opinion and has been under attack ever since. 

The case was filed in 1971 by Norma McCorvey, a 22-year-old living in Texas who was unmarried and seeking a termination of her unwanted pregnancy. 

Because of state legislation preventing abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk, she was unable to undergo the procedure in a safe and legal environment.

So McCorvey sued Henry Wade, the Dallas county district attorney, in 1970. The case went on to the Supreme Court, under the filing Roe vs Wade, to protect McCorvey’s privacy.

Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court handed down the watershed 7-2 decision that a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, including the choice to have an abortion, is protected under the 14th Amendment. 

In particular, that the Due Process Clause of the the 14th Amendment provides a fundamental ‘right to privacy’ that protects a woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

 …nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

The landmark ruling saw abortions decriminalized in 46 states, but under certain specific conditions which individual states could decide on. For example, states could decide whether abortions were allowed only during the first and second trimester but not the third (typically beyond 28 weeks). 

Impact 

Among pro-choice campaigners, the decision was hailed as a victory which would mean fewer women would become seriously – or even fatally – ill from abortions carried out by unqualified or unlicensed practitioners. Moreover, the freedom of choice was considered a significant step in the equality fight for women in the country. Victims of rape or incest would be able to have the pregnancy terminated and not feel coerced into motherhood.

However, pro-lifers contended it was tantamount to murder and that every life, no matter how it was conceived, is precious. Though the decision has never been overturned, anti-abortionists have prompted hundreds of states laws since then narrowing the scope of the ruling.

One such was the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act signed by President George W. Bush in 2003, which banned a procedure used to perform second-trimester abortions.   

McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe

McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe

Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe)

Following the ruling, McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe. McCorvey became a leading, outspoken pro-abortion voice in American discourse, even working at a women’s clinic where abortions were performed.

However,  she performed an unlikely U-turn in 1995, becoming a born again Christian and began traveling the country speaking out against the procedure.

In 2003, a she filed a motion to overturn her original 1973 ruling with the U.S. district court in Dallas. The motion moved through the courts until it was ultimately denied by the Supreme Court in 2005.

McCorvey died at an assisted living home in Texas in February 2017, aged 69. 

‘The Heartbeat bill’

Multiple governors have signed legislation outlawing abortion if a doctor can detect a so-called ‘fetal heartbeat,’ part of a concerted effort to restrict abortion rights in states across the country.

Under the ban doctors will be prosecuted for flouting the rules.

Abortion-rights supporters see the ‘heartbeat bills’ as virtual bans because ‘fetal heartbeats’ can be detected as early as six weeks, when women may not be aware they are pregnant.

Anti-abortion campaigners have intensified their efforts since Donald Trump was elected president and appointed two conservative justices to the US Supreme Court, hopeful they can convince the right-leaning court to re-examine Roe v. Wade.

Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, and Louisiana have enacted ‘heartbeat laws’ recently, and Alabama passed an even more restrictive version in May, amounting to a near total ban on abortion from the moment of conception. Other states have similar legislation pending.

Similar laws has also been passed in Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Iowa and Kentucky, though they have been blocked by courts from going into effect as legal challenges have been brought against them.



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