Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee slams ‘devious’ Texas abortion law

EXCLUSIVE: After the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow Texas' restrictive anti-abortion bill to take in effect, outrage is descending from the White House, lawmakers and abortion advocates

President Joe Biden is condemning the United States Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote on Texas Law SB8 which further restricts women’s ability to get an abortion after six weeks into their pregnancy. 

“For the majority to do this without a hearing, without the benefit of an opinion from a court below, and without due consideration of the issues, insults the rule of law and the rights of all Americans to seek redress from our courts,” President Biden said in a written statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen on September 02, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said, “This is an example of the dastardly results of a Trump-packed court that made a political decision to deny millions of women across America their basic constitutional rights to privacy and their rights to health care. I have never seen a more devious denial of one’s constitutional rights.”

The detection of a fetal heartbeat is the center of the Texas ban on abortions after six weeks. 

Jackson Lee is furious with the tone this ruling sets for women across the country.

“What we did yesterday, what the Supreme Court did, it literally crushed. It crushed what America is. What is America is a bill of rights. It’s a right to privacy. And we have just denied it, we’ve crushed it and for our women of color, it was their lifeline. It was their lifeline,” Jackson Lee told theGrio. “In lonely times and in faraway cities away from their homes, they could find legal, comforting family planning centers that would give them guidance for the future, provide them with a family planning structure and save their lives.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) gives a speech during the opening of the mural as a part of Juneteenth Legacy Project commemorating the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 2021 in Galveston, Texas. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

As outrage descends from the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, abortion advocates are fuming at the sudden surprise. They contend current restrictions and the latest court ruling could have been seen from a mile away as well as prevented by Democrats years ago. 

“Yes, the Trump administration was awful. But most of the restrictions we’re dealing with right now, they were all enacted during the Obama administration,” Renee Bracey Sherman, executive director of We Testify. “And the Obama administration also did not show up for us. They did not take action. So it is on this, not just on Republicans, it is on Democrats who also have done nothing to protect us.” 

Bracey Sherman cautions the public to recognize that the latest Supreme Court ruling is a nail in a coffin that was built in 2015 when the Hyde Amendment was upheld. That restriction prevents those on Medicaid and Medicare from getting their abortions expenses covered. 

At the moment, Congress is actively working to repeal the Hyde Amendment. At the forefront of this effort is Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts who chairs the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force in the United States House of Representatives.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“It is a discriminatory, racist policy which bars access to to health care, to abortion care disproportionately for Black and brown folks,” Pressley said to theGrio. “So specifically Medicaid, which many Black and brown folks disproportionately use.”

According to Pressley, in totality the restrictions on reproductive health access are part of an intersectional attack on health care in the Black community. 

“If we’re serious about the work of a Black liberation collectively, then that has everything to do with things like reproductive justice and abortion care,” she added.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!