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Everything You Need to Know About SB 8, Texas' Latest Extreme Abortion Restriction

Abortion is legal. It's your right. But the Supreme Court is prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade. But as of today, abortion remains your constitutional right.

Pregnant and seeking abortion? 

If you’re pregnant and seeking an abortion, your nearest Planned Parenthood health center or another trusted reproductive health care provider can determine how far along into pregnancy you are and help you understand your options. 

Are you an existing abortion patient? 

If so, please read more on Texas laws, including SB 8, as they may impact your ability to access care in our health center.  This law actually limits our ability to provide abortion care in Texas beyond about 6 weeks of pregnancy, and sometimes earlier. 



Supporter FAQ: How Can I Help in Texas?

Senate Bill 8 (or S.B. 8) bans abortion in Texas after about six weeks, before most people even know they’re pregnant. Unlike other abortion bans, S.B. 8 is enforced by private individuals who are incentivized to sue providers and others who help someone an obtain an illegal abortion for up to $10,000 for each successful claim. We’re fighting back against this unconstitutional law, but we need your help.

Statement from Planned Parenthood Texas Affiliates:

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion is not law, and we must be clear that abortion is still legal in Texas. Our health centers continue to provide abortion in compliance with Texas’ extreme abortion ban, and provide essential healthcare like birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. These extreme attacks are not new to Texans – for eight months we have lived under Texas’ near-total abortion ban. But we have remained resilient and Planned Parenthood in Texas continues to provide the care and resources Texans need. We are here for you and we are not going anywhere. No judge, no politician, no ban should ever block your personal medical decisions or set the course for your life. Planned Parenthood will never stop standing up for the rights of individuals to make personal medical decisions best for themselves and their families.”

What is SB 8?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law on May 19, 2021. Sometimes referred to as the “heartbeat bill,” SB 8 is one of the most extreme abortion bans in the entire nation. Effective September 1, 2021, SB 8 bans abortion in Texas at approximately six weeks — before most people even know they’re pregnant — with no exceptions for rape or incest.

For people with a regular menstrual cycle, that’s just two weeks after a missed period.

SB 8 is different from other abortion bans because it contains a “private cause of action,” which is a legal provision that allows private individuals — not the state — to enforce the law

This provision lets anyone sue an abortion provider and anyone else who helps a patient access abortion care that is prohibited by SB 8. Anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider will be entitled to at least $10,000 and a court order preventing them from providing abortions in the future.

That means anyone, anywhere in the country — from anti-abortion protesters to out-of-state lobbyists — can sue an abortion provider, abortion funds, or anyone who “aids and abets” someone seeking an abortion that is prohibited by SB 8, regardless of whether they are directly involved or even know the patient.

This is a new tactic by opponents of abortion designed to make it harder to challenge the ban in court.

On July 13, 2021, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas joined a broad coalition of abortion providers, doctors, clergy, abortion funds, and practical support networks across the state in filing a federal lawsuit in an effort to block SB 8 before it could take effect. Unfortunately, the law is currently in place in Texas, though our legal fight is ongoing. You can read our full lawsuit here.

In the meantime, Planned Parenthood Center for Choice is offering abortion in compliance with SB 8, which means that abortion access is drastically reduced for the majority of patients who need it in Texas. Learn more about abortion care under SB 8 here, and stay tuned for updates as our legal challenge progresses.
Every person should be able to make their own decisions about their health and their bodies. SB 8 is blatantly unconstitutional and represents a full-scale assault on patients, their health care providers, and their support systems. We will not back down from our fight against this attack on essential health care.


Statement from Melaney A. Linton, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and Planned Parenthood Center for Choice:

“At Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, we believe that all individuals must be free to control their own bodies and make their own private medical decisions without interference from anyone — least of all politicians and, should SB 8 take effect, virtual strangers deputized by the state to enforce a blatantly unconstitutional law.

“It is unthinkable that anti-abortion extremists could be allowed to stand in the way of people accessing essential health care. And SB 8 goes even further by incentivizing those extremists to pursue frivolous lawsuits against anyone who helps a person access the health care they need, which has dangerous implications for our patients, our health centers, our communities, and our entire legal system.

“While the legal strategy may be new, the intent is not: Planned Parenthood has been on the frontlines for more than a decade of concerted attacks on abortion, and SB 8 could decimate what little access remains in Texas. Our patients deserve so much better.”

Planned Parenthood and SB 8 in the news

Texas Tribune: Twenty abortion providers sue Texas officials over law that bans abortions as early as six weeks

The Guardian: Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Texas’s extreme abortion ban

Rolling Stone: An Abortion Provider Discusses His Biggest Fears Over Texas’ Abortion ‘Bounty’ Law

Insider: Why getting an abortion before 6 weeks of pregnancy is almost ‘impossible’

Insider: The Texas ‘heartbeat ban’ isn’t medically accurate because there’s no heart that early in pregnancy, providers say

Insider: A 13-year-old who was raped by her grandfather traveled hours across Texas to get an abortion. She wouldn't have been able to under the state's new 6-week ban.

Autumn's Story

“When I was 18, I found myself trapped in an abusive relationship, and I unexpectedly became pregnant as a freshman in college. The pregnancy caused my partner to become even more abusive, and my family believed he might seriously injure or even kill me. One night, he drove me out to the middle of nowhere and put a gun to my head.

I knew I couldn’t stay pregnant, and I chose to get an abortion. I knew then that it was the right choice for me, and I’ve never regretted it. I traveled over an hour to Houston to access abortion at Planned Parenthood. It was simple, safe, and life-changing in only the best ways. I felt in control of my life for the first time since I began the relationship with my abuser, and I finally found the courage to end it. Continuing the pregnancy would have meant that my abuser would be a constant fixture in my life, and, because the escalating abuse could have been fatal, I truly believe that my abortion is the reason I am alive today.

My abortion allowed me to finally escape my abusive relationship, finish university in four years, begin a now 15-year career, and find a new, healthy relationship with a loving partner.

I was past 6 weeks pregnant when I had my abortion, so if SB 8 had been law at that time, I might not be here today to tell this story. And accessing abortion has become even more difficult today than it was then. Everyone deserves the same basic respect of being trusted to make their own private medical decisions, in the simplest possible way, just like I did.”

Help us fight back!

Share Your Story.

Everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion, and your voice matters in the fight to protect reproductive rights and access to essential health care. What does safe and legal abortion mean to you? How has abortion care impacted your life? 

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Chip in today to ensure Planned Parenthood’s doors stay open for patients — no matter what. Your gift of any amount sends a strong message to Texans whose rights have been under near-constant attack for years: I stand with you, I support you, and I will fight to protect your ability to access the essential health care you need. 

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Statement from Dr. Bhavik Kumar, abortion care provider at Planned Parenthood Center for Choice

“This cruel and dangerous law is among the most extreme in the entire nation — and tragically par for the course here in Texas, where it’s already prohibitively difficult for people to access sexual and reproductive health care. SB 8 bans abortion at approximately six weeks, before most people even know they’re pregnant and before they’ve had the opportunity to consider their options. Considering the time it takes to confirm a pregnancy, make a decision, schedule an appointment, and comply with the existing web of medically unnecessary restrictions in Texas, a six-week ban essentially amounts to an outright ban on access to abortion care.


We already know that bans like SB 8 don’t stop people from needing — and getting — abortions. Just as they did last spring when Gov. Abbott exploited the pandemic to temporarily ban abortion care in Texas, people with the resources to travel out of state will do so, and those without the resources may take measures into their own hands. Last spring, I saw first-hand the devastating impact this had on my patients when they were cruelly denied the care they desperately needed.


SB 8 will cause many people to suffer unnecessarily in pursuit of care they are unable to access safely within their own communities. We know that the people who are navigating the many layers of systemic marginalization will suffer the most: Black and brown people and people with low incomes. My patients deserve better. They deserve to make their own health care decisions in consultation with their provider, without political interference, and without the threat of frivolous lawsuits. Instead, the people of Texas are being robbed of their bodily autonomy and politicians are jeopardizing the health and safety of pregnant people.”