A Texas Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban credit card companies from processing transactions for abortion pills, the state’s latest attempt to dramatically curb safe access to the medical procedure.
The bill, which Representative Drew Springer proposed Thursday night, would classify processing credit card transactions for “the provision of an abortion-inducing drug by courier, delivery, or mail service” as a felony. The legislation would also allow individuals to sue credit card companies that allow such transactions to go through.
Springer’s bill did not say how the state would monitor credit card purchases for abortion pills, nor how civilians would know which card companies continue to process the transactions.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Texas has banned abortion after six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, and only a few to save the life of the pregnant person. Individuals are also allowed to sue anyone who provides abortion care or helps someone get an abortion, in what’s known as the state’s chilling vigilante law.
Apparently not satisfied with those restrictions, Texas has continued to try to limit access to other forms of reproductive health. Last week, another Republican lawmaker introduced a bill that would compel internet providers in the state to block websites that sell or provide information on how to obtain abortion pills.
Under the Women and Child Safety Act, abortion funds and their staffers could face criminal penalties for helping someone get an abortion even if they travel out of state, as could individuals who manufacture and distribute abortion pills in Texas or who provide information on how to get the drugs. The bill would also allow individuals to bring civil lawsuits against the people who maintain such sites, another extension of the state’s vigilante law. All of these restrictions, however, run counter to what Texans actually want: A study by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 57 percent of state residents think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Medication abortions, which consist of taking the two drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, make up more than half of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The pills are considered a crucial resource in maintaining widespread access to safe abortions. Restricting the means to medication abortions will hit people of color and lower-income people the hardest.