Author: Sarah White, Truman State University, '22
On Wednesday September 1, 2021, Texas banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy (Ravindran). Six weeks marks when a fetal heartbeat can be heard, but many women may not be aware they are pregnant at that time. The law does not take into account cases of rape or incest. An abortion after six weeks is permitted only if a doctor believes it is a medical emergency (Ibid). Private citizens are also free to sue abortion providers and anyone else who assists in any part of the abortion process, no matter if they know the patient or not (McCammon). According to CNN, “Texas now has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the US” (Ravindran). Several other states have attempted to ban abortions after six weeks, but have not succeeded. Texas’s new law was passed because it does not specifically call for public officials: instead, pro-life activists can enforce the law (McCammon).
Politicians are telling women what to do with their bodies. This law is disgusting and retrogresses women’s rights. Not only that, but the law turns citizens against each other. It causes pregnant women to question who they can trust and how they can obtain an abortion legally. The ban undoes what Roe v. Wade established to protect abortion rights for women. It is violating to have someone -- let alone, the law -- tell women what to do and what not to do with their bodies. This is America, the “land of the free”. How can we claim this title when women are not free to do what they want with their bodies?
According to John Seago, Texas Right to Life activist, “these lawsuits are not against the women. The lawsuits would be against the individuals making money off of the abortion, the abortion industry itself. So this is not spy on your neighbor and see if they're having an abortion” (McCammon). However, despite Seago’s words, this law sounds like a lawsuit directly against women. For instance: say that someone was looking to obtain an abortion, and they were sued because of their attempts. Not only will they be forced to carry out the pregnancy, but they may have lost a lawsuit, resulting in wasted money. This money could have gone towards other necessities (such as food, water, housing, etc.), but instead it will have been spent on going to court for a law that restricts a woman’s choice on what to do with her body.
To the people who are celebrating this law: what does it gain for you? Why does someone else’s body concern you? What do you know about these people’s lives? Perhaps you don’t understand the stress and anxiety women go through when deciding if they should obtain an abortion. Some women cannot financially, mentally, and/or physically afford to carry through the pregnancy. This law you are celebrating incites fear for the future. Why do you celebrate the suppression of women’s rights?
Your religion may not approve abortions, which is understandable; however, not everyone identifies with the same religious views. You might defend your view by saying that you value all life -- an unborn child deserves the chance to live. They’re innocent, not yet introduced to the world and its wonders. But if you value all life, why not consider the mother’s choice? Will bearing the unborn child deteriorate the quality of life for the mother -- and ultimately the baby? Why focus so much on unborn children when there are plenty of born children struggling to survive? Pro-life activists may argue that abortion is murder, but it’s not their call to make. Being pro-choice does not mean every mother is going to have an abortion. Being pro-choice does not mean you yourself have to have an abortion. Being pro-choice means that you are allowing other women to decide what they want to do -- what they need to do -- with their bodies and their lives.
Samuel A. Alito
Amy Coney Barrett.
Neil M. Gorsuch.
Brett M. Kavanaugh.
These are the five Supreme Court justices who voted against blocking this horrifying ban. These are the justices who enabled this restriction towards women. These are the justices who are taking women’s rights away.
There are already six other states that are using this law as a template to restrict abortions after six weeks: North Dakota, Mississippi, Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, and Arkansas (Sadeque). How many more states will follow?
Graphic by Aarushi Kodakalla