Sep 29, 2021
Last week, the state of Texas passed a law aimed at reducing the number of abortions performed in the state, prohibiting women from receiving abortions at six weeks from their last menstrual period.
Last week, the state of Texas passed a law aimed at reducing the number of abortions performed in the state, prohibiting women from receiving abortions at six weeks from their last menstrual period. This near-total abortion ban is unlike any other in the country, as it is to be enforced by private citizens rather than the government. This allows almost anyone to sue any parties suspected of being involved in the process of an abortion, excluding the woman who received the abortion. This puts doctors, nurses, and even the person who drove a woman to an abortion clinic at risk. Additionally, the lack of government interference in enforcing these laws makes it harder for defendants to use Roe v. Wade, the landmark case which gave women the constitutional right to an abortion, in their defense. Almost overnight, nearly all abortions in the state of Texas were halted, as it was deemed too risky to attempt to get around the new law.
Recently, the Department of Justice has decided to sue the state of Texas in response to the law, stating that it violates the constitution and Supreme Court cases like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The role of private citizens in the process, however, is making the law difficult to legally challenge. Seeing this, many other Republican-dominated states, such as South Dakota and Florida, are being encouraged to pass similar laws.
Restrictive reproductive laws such as this one are not just an attack on abortions. They are an attack on women. First of all, most women have not even realized they are pregnant by the time they reach the six-week mark, making it difficult, or even impossible for them to even consider going through with an abortion. Even in cases of rape or incest, abortions are still restricted, and pregnant victims who chose to have an abortion are still vulnerable to lawsuits. In fact, the criminal fine for rape in Texas, $10,000, is the same as the fine for assisting in an abortion caused by rape.
It is a widely known fact that strict abortion laws do not stop abortions, they just make them more dangerous for women. Women who are denied access to safe abortions, depending on their circumstances, may resort to other methods of ending a pregnancy, including the use of high-risk drugs, and failed abortion attempts can be fatal. Additionally, these laws are disadvantageous to poorer women, as wealthy women can afford to travel out of state to receive legal abortions.
Restriction of abortion is not only a discriminatory act but a dangerous one. The lives of countless women across the country could be at risk should laws like the one in Texas continue to pass. Women currently have the constitutional right to receive an abortion, regardless of circumstances, and allowing states like Texas to manipulate their laws around this right should not be condoned without a fight.