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Texas abortion law should not stand

WED. | 11-03-21 | OPINION

     The goal for most Americans is to make abortion as rare as possible, but what they can’t agree on is how to achieve that goal. 

     The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

     Despite health care providers' emergency requests to block it, a Texas law went into effect on September 1, 2021 that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy after the Supreme Court declined to challenge it. This law directly violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which states, “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” 

     A typical pregnancy is forty weeks in duration. Most women are not yet aware that they are pregnant until at least six weeks of gestation, therefore making nearly all abortions in Texas now illegal ― including those performed in women who are victims of rape and domestic violence.

     Victimization alone has been proven to cause many long term mental health problems. Adding the inability to get an abortion after these events have occured will only increase these problems in the future.

     The establishment of this law is not going to stop abortions; it will only decrease access to legal abortions causing lower income and minority groups who don’t have the luxury of getting out of state/country abortions to get unsafe, illegal abortions. Illegal abortions can lead to many different medical problems for women. Some of these may include heavy bleeding, infection, uterine perforation and damage to

Texas Abortion Law.jpg

Graphic by Edie Yount

the genital tract and internal organs due to dangerous objects being used in non-medical settings to perform these abortions such as broken glass, clothes hangers, sticks and knitting needles.

     If the overall goal is to decrease abortions, we can go about this in many different and more effective ways. This path would start with early and ongoing sex education, easily accessible and free birth control, an improved foster care network, accessible adoption, expanded healthcare for all, and better support for pregnant teenagers to continue their education while completing their pregnancy.  According to epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina, between the years of 2009-2018, reported abortion rates decreased 22 percent due to the Affordable Care Act and accessible birth control. This is proof that these goals are attainable.

     With the new Texas law being in place, it has already been a topic of interest for other states, such as Florida, and will likely introduce a wave of strict abortion laws throughout the United States in years to come. 

     The Texas abortion law is not state-enforced but allows private citizens to sue women who have had an abortion after 6 weeks for ten thousand dollars plus legal fees. This places no responsibility on men, but solely targets and punishes women for a condition they could not be in without a man’s involvement. 

     Abortion is a complex issue. It is more than a black and white, pro-choice or pro-life position. The decision often falls in a gray area for medical, social, and/or financial reasons. For most women contemplating abortion, it is a deeply personal and difficult decision made for a wide variety of reasons at different times during a pregnancy, and the decision is typically not made on a whim. It is a decision a woman makes often after consultation with her partner, family, physician, and religious/spiritual leader. 

     As Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When [the] Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

     The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Texas criminal abortion law to stand robs women of that well-being, dignity, and adult responsibility.

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