• Blue Troiano

Abortion Ban in Texas

On September 1st Texas passed Texas Senate Bill 8. This has flooded our news feeds and taken over our social media pages, but what does this mean?

Let's go over the facts: SB8 is based on the concept of the “Heartbeat Bill”. This means that as soon as a heartbeat is detected, a fetus is considered a human life, and therefore it cannot be aborted. The average time that a heartbeat is found is at 6 weeks. As stated in the bill, a “...fetal heartbeat has become a key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth...” Therefore, the claim is that there is no reason a woman should not be able to carry out a full, healthy pregnancy. As cited on page 4 of the official text, there are exceptions for medical emergencies, however no exceptions for rape or incest. This bill not only restricts abortions to an impossible standard, but encourages a high level of surveillance and paranoia. This bill promises consequences to all who assist, perform, or even know about an illegal abortion. Those who report an illegal abortion will be rewarded.

Roe v. Wade has been brought up because of these recent events; claims are being made that SB8 is an infringement on a woman’s right to an abortion. As we fight this bill, we need to remember that Roe v. Wade was a court case about privacy, not the right to an abortion. Roe v. Wade protects a woman’s right to privacy within her body and her decisions about her body, as protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth amendments. The original decision states that the first trimester of pregnancy may not be regulated by the state, but the second and third trimester can be restricted. Whether or not we believe that SB8 infringes on our right to privacy, the official text states that “[t]he legislature finds that the State of Texas never repealed, either expressly or by implication, the state statutes enacted before the ruling in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), that prohibit and criminalize abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.”

We also need to remember that we have the right to an abortion without undue burden, as secured by the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood of Southwest Pennsylvania v. Casey. At the time, this applied to women having to watch graphic videos of abortions, get their husband’s permission, and wait a period of time in order to receive an abortion. Cases like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey protect our rights as women.

To say that this bill is upsetting or concerning is an understatement. This is not just a limitation of women’s healthcare; this is a direct attack on the rights and privacy of women all across America, especially those already at a disadvantage. It is not an understatement to imply that abortions were made nearly impossible for all of those who cannot afford to leave the state and pay for an abortion. It has been proven time and time again that by restricting abortions, you are only restricting legal and safe abortions. Abortions will happen and putting limits on them have caused and will directly cause abortion-related deaths. We can get technical and debate laws for an eternity, but at the end of the day abortions are healthcare and every single person deserves the right to have access to them.

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