Opinion: The Texas Abortion Ban Is Dangerously Wrong
By Sophia Alexandrou, Co-Editor
On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision in the court case of Roe v. Wade, granting the right to an abortion without excessive government restriction. On September 1, 2021, the state of Texas successfully enacted a law restricting abortions after six weeks. A significant reason a bill this restrictive and unconstitutional was able to pass was because of the 6-3 Republican majority in the Supreme Court due to Trump-era appointments. This law leaves women in Texas extremely vulnerable and if anything, highlights not just the government’s desire to gain control over women, but also many politicians’ complete lack of understanding of women’s health and what the restriction of a freedom so fundamental can do.
In May of this year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed this bill that would only allow abortions to take place before six weeks into the pregnancy, as this is generally the time when a heartbeat is detected in a fetus. This is before many women even know they are pregnant. This bill also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers like Planned Parenthood or those who drive others to receive an abortion on the basis of “aiding and abetting” an abortion. There are no exceptions in the bill for instances of rape or incest. This basically establishes a complete ban on abortion in the state of Texas, and the Supreme Court will not do anything about it.
This bill is a complete attack on women and is a perfect example of the consequences of electing politicians who represent one type of voice in their electorate of a million. The two main reasons a bill like this will be passed, besides violent misogyny (though no one would ever admit to that), are religion and the philosophy that abortion is murder. These are both invalid and result in the spreading of harmful rhetoric. Firstly, separation of church and state is one of the foundations of the United States government. One’s own religion -- not anyone else’s -- should be the guide for one’s own choices. Those who do not agree with abortion can simply choose not to get one. In terms of the idea that abortion is murder and should therefore be illegal, this topic is much more nuanced than that. Arguing the technicalities of what abortion actually is, is pointless. Regardless of the stance, the one point that trumps all others is the people’s right to bodily autonomy. This universal right is implemented several times throughout the Unites States code of law. It’s why no one is legally obligated to donate blood or organs. Even deceased people are required to have obtained a legal organ donor card while they were alive in order for the state to be allowed to take their organs. This means that at least in this respect, the implementation of this abortion ban would be granting women fewer rights than a corpse.
This ban is extremely detrimental for women’s health. To outlaw abortion is to outlaw safe and legal abortion. When women are denied these rights, they find other ways. All of these ways are dangerous. According to the Guttmacher Institute, unsafe abortions cause about 70,000 maternal deaths each year, almost all of which occurred in developing countries where abortion was outlawed. It seems that to these lawmakers, the term “pro-life” does not apply to women.
Ultimately, the best action that can be taken to avoid further violations of basic rights is to vote. Had there been greater voter turnout for younger electorate in the 2016 election, former President Trump would not have been able to flip the Supreme Court as much as he did. In addition, electing those who clearly only fight for the interests of one group of people to govern a diverse group of people is never a good idea. One of the main reasons this bill is so harmful is that it is a bill passed by a white man that primarily targets women of color. Besides voting, advocating for pro-choice candidates, joining rallies and protests, and educating yourself are all important steps in the fight for women to have autonomy over their own bodies.
Governor Greg Abbot said that this bill “ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.” When will the lives of women across the country be saved from the ravages of an uneducated and dangerous government?