The new Texas abortion law undeniably attacks women’s rights


Lorie Shaull | Flickr

Anastasia Matano

Texas Senate Bill 8 has crafted the façade of a caring, concerned measure made to ensure that all unborn life in Texas is protected under the law. Beneath it lies the ugly truth that nearly all women in the United States have been forced to grapple with — women’s bodily and constitutional rights are under fire yet again.

The bill, passed in May of this year, effectively bans abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected. This generally occurs around six weeks, which is usually before most women even know they are pregnant. In making zero exceptions for abortions in the instance of rape or incest, SB 8 has been declared one of the strictest antiabortion measures to ever be signed into U.S. law.

Worse, it deputizes average citizens to sue anyone, whether a doctor, driver or nurse involved in the performing of an abortion and even provides a minimum of a $10,000 cash reward as an incentive.

The law takes advantage of any loophole available to permit Texas lawmakers from evading all constitutional responsibility and even includes complicated courthouse rules that ensure that abortion-related lawsuits are as costly as possible.

This law paints a stark image of how those seeking abortions will be treated in the months to comes bounties to  profit off.

The enactment comes, disappointingly, as little surprise since pro-life activists and conservative lawmakers have been laying the groundwork for such an extreme law for decades now.

The shock factor behind this law lies less in why it was passed and more in just how it was approved in the first place, as seen in the Department of Justice’s decision to file an emergency order requesting the temporary cessation of the law.

According to the Department of Justice, Texas’ law clearly violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which “prevents states from banning abortions before a fetus is viable.” In addition, it clearly undermines the Supremacy Clause, which ensures that states do not evade their constitutional obligations as Texas is brazenly attempting.

Unfortunately, the answer to the question of how such a law was approved lies neither in the legal proceedings nor the politics behind abortion. The answer is simply that the United States is unwilling to protect the rights of women.

This statement has become an undeniable truth; the Supreme Court, given the opportunity to prevent the enactment of the law, simply watched and did nothing, and with a majority pro-life, Republican presence of justices, this comes as no surprise.

The issue at hand is future women’s rights, specifically, those on abortion, are at risk, all for the sake of assuaging the hysterics of hypocritical pro-life, anti-abortion activists.

The pro-life argument maintains that life begins at conception and should thus be protected yet fails to see that outlawing health care such as abortion does not decrease abortion rates; it merely makes access to safe, legal abortions impossible. The frightening alternative is that women will go to unsafe lengths to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and may end up losing their lives in the process.

Measures that decrease abortion rates include providing comprehensive sexual education, free and effective contraceptives and a financial and social safety net that allows women to raise healthy children. y, Pro-lifers discourage the enactment of such progressive measures.

In fact, the majority of those who call themselves “pro-life” also actively support removing children from their families and placing them in cages at the border, decreasing social services like SNAP and Medicaid and taking away birth control, according to Dame Magazine.

It is clear that pro-lifers, and the legislatures they occupy, couldn’t care less about actual life. The desired goal is to strip women of their basic right to bodily autonomy. This opens the door for a slew of other rights to be just as easily cut down and violated.

Despite the DOJ’s rightly guided decision to temporarily bar SB 8, the concern that other conservative states will take the same measures as Texas is steadily growing. Just last week, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem and Florida Sen. Wilton Simpson began to show interest in a similarly strict anti-abortion policy.

To protect its women, the United States government must make swift efforts to prevent, if not entirely abolish, the law from going into full effect. The Supreme Court has already failed in its duty to prevent a law that so blatantly violates the rights of over 166 million of its citizens.

The bottom line is that abortion is health care; it is not meant to be a point of contention between conservatives and liberals on the political battleground. It is the basic service of allowing a woman the right to choose and prevents a child from being born into an environment in which it is statistically unlikely to thrive.

It is high time that the United States takes measures to provide the basic legal, financial and social protection that women have demanded for decades. SB 8 is an egregious affront in the strive to attain such protection.