87th LegislatureAfter Heartbeat Act Takes Effect, Austin-Based Bumble Creates ‘Relief Fund’ for Abortion Seekers

The dating app company Bumble started a relief fund to aid abortions in Texas. It may or may not be legal under the Heartbeat Act.
September 6, 2021
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Bumble, an Austin-based company best known for its dating app, announced that it would create a fund to aid abortions.

“Starting today, Bumble has created a relief fund supporting the reproductive rights of women and people across the gender spectrum who seek abortions in Texas,” the company stated September 1.

The announcement is doubtlessly a response to the Texas Heartbeat Act, a bill in the state legislature that just took effect two days ago. The law requires abortion physicians to check for cardiac activity, which normally develops around six weeks into a pregnancy, before performing an abortion. If the child has a pulse, the abortion is illegal.

But instead of using government enforcement, it allows Texans to sue anybody, other than the mother herself, that performs or aids the abortion of an unborn child with detectable cardiac activity. Plaintiffs that prevail can receive damages of at least $10,000.

A group of abortion providers and counselors sued to stop Texas courts from hearing these lawsuits. The group failed to get a preliminary injunction at district court and made an unsuccessful emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the law before it took effect. Their lawsuit can still proceed at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but for now, the Heartbeat Act is fully effective.

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The law makes an exception for medical emergencies.

Bumble’s flagship product is its eponymous dating app, which now allows other non-romantic networking as well. Launched in Austin in 2014, the app distinctively will only let women respond first when they match with men.

It is unclear whether their fund will be illegal under the new law.

The Heartbeat Act outlaws paying for post-heartbeat abortions. However, it does not explicitly ban aid for legal challenges.

Texans that sue violators of the law and win are entitled to damages of $10,000 minimum from the defendant for each abortion that the defendant performed or abetted.

People that are sued under the law also will have to shoulder the cost of the lawsuit, whether or not they prevail. Regardless of a particular lawsuit’s outcome, the law prohibits courts from awarding defendants costs or attorney’s fees.

The law sets a statute of limitations at four years. A father who impregnated the mother by rape or incest cannot sue.

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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.