Anti-abortion laws and consequential protests erupt nationally

Naia Willemsen, News Reporter

It has been fifty years since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, yet abortion rights are still on the table across the country.

In the wake of these laws being decided upon, protests against anti-abortion laws and to show support for abortion rights have erupted all over the country, including in Walla Walla.

On Oct. 2, a protest was held at Land Title Plaza in Downtown Walla Walla. It was organized by Cia Cortinas Rood, Katt Jessee and Chae Katsel, according to the Union-Bulletin. The protest was reported as peaceful and intended as a show of support for reproductive rights.

One of the new laws under scrutiny is Senate Bill 8, which went into effect in Texas in early September. This bill allows people to sue anyone they believed performed an abortion or helped someone in the process of getting an abortion after cardiac activity could be detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy. Because it was designed to be enforced by private citizens, the bill isn’t subject to normal court rulings on abortion.

The bill has been criticized because most people don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks, and there are no exceptions for rape or incest. The only exception to the bill is if the life of the pregnant person is in danger, a judgement that can be subjective.

Although the bill was blocked by order of a federal judge for a few days the week of Oct. 6, it has since been reinstated.

Before this intervention, “Texas was allowed to keep its abortion law, Senate Bill 8, in effect for roughly five weeks. In that time, providers say they were forced to turn away hundreds of people seeking abortions,” according to an article by NPR.

The bill is currently in effect, but the United States Justice Department has urged the Supreme Court to block this law. They argue that, according to the Associated Press, “If Texas’s scheme is permissible, no constitutional right is safe from state-sanctioned sabotage of this kind.”

In addition to the bill in Texas, the Supreme Court is set to rule on a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks.

Whitman’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) is working to advocate for reproductive rights. According to co-president Kaitlynne Jensen, the group plans to come together within the next few weeks to work on a letter writing campaign to senators and representatives. 

“We also know that within the Walla Walla community there’s been fear about abortion rights being taken away here with not a lot of people understanding that abortion bans aren’t generally being passed in Washington state,” Jensen said. 

The group canvassed Saturday, Oct. 15, passing out fliers in neighborhoods to explain that abortion services are still accessible in Walla Walla. 

Although abortion rights aren’t necessarily on the table in Washington, Jensen maintains that it is still important to take action.

“What happens when these abortion bans are passed is that a lot of times they go to the courts to be tested, and they can make their way all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Jensen said, citing maps that predict what would happen in different states if Roe v. Wade was overturned. 

“Most states would become very hostile towards people that are seeking abortions, so it’s important that we fight [these bans] in other states so they don’t affect us in the future.”