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14th Jul 2021

Texas offers $10,000 reward for people who turn in women who want abortions

Charlie Herbert

The law will come into effect from September 1.

Women in Texas who seek abortions after six weeks of pregnancy could be turned in by others for a $10,000 reward. It’s after the Texas Heartbeat Act was passed through the state legislature in May.

The act will allow citizens to sue private medical companies if they grant abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Any citizen who reports a case could be awarded $10,000, even if they don’t live in Texas. This has raised serious ethical questions.

Critics are now calling for this law to be changed before it takes effect at the start of September.

In May, Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that bans abortions after six weeks, with the only exception to this being in the case of a medical emergency for the woman. The law still applies in cases of rape and incest.

Writing in the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin said: “Consider the potential for harassment, spying, extortion and other vengeful behaviour directed toward women. The law depends on what others know about her reproductive health and are willing to tell the authorities to grab a $10,000 bounty.”

Perhaps even worse is that people will also be able to sue surgery providers, nurses, friends and anyone else who facilitates an abortion, as pro-choice group Women’s March point out.

MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid expressed her disgust with the legislation on Twitter, saying: “So now Texas Republicans are putting bounties on pregnant women. I almost hate to ask what this benighted party will think of next.”

Fortune reports that attempts to pass similar six-week bans on abortions in other states have all been found unconstitutional as they’ve passed through the legal system.