The A-Word in Texas
On January 22, 1973, the United State supreme court decided that state regulation of women’s rights to an abortion was unconstitutional. This was a giant step in the feminist movement of the early ’70s that paved the way for establishing reproductive rights for women in the twenty-first century. However, many states since then have attempted to find loopholes within this law and regulate when women should and shouldn’t receive abortions. The most recent of these states is Texas. On September 1st, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott enforced a law making it illegal to have an abortion six weeks into pregnancy or when cardiac activity is present ( before most women even know they’re pregnant) and subjecting medical professionals who perform said abortions to possible lawsuits. Here is why this is important: southern states have a history of having a conservative standpoint on the matter of abortion, and are dying to get rid of it once and for all. This new law in Texas could be a stepping stone in making this a reality. Now to be fair there are some exceptions to this law such as rape or incest; however, if those are in fact the only “moral” reasons for an abortion, that’s essentially saying for a woman to have a right to her body it must first be violated. It’s funny how putting it like that makes people think. Governor Abbott has also stated that “Goal number one in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person would be a victim of rape”. That’s funny because last time I checked Greg has been the governor since 2015 and In 2019, Texas had the highest number of forcible rape cases in the United States, with 14,824 reported rapes. Sounds like you really brought down the hammer there Greg.
A lot of women are very angry about this law, and rightfully so. As a uterus haver, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that people have such a strong opinion about what I do with my body. There have already been multiple protests at the Texas capitol in Austin to oppose this law because the women of Texas are infuriated. I’m infuriated. Young people who are pushing for change feel defeated. I took the liberty of getting the perspective of a few Southwestern students and how they feel about this law being passed. Out of the five people I interviewed (three girls & two boys), all of them opposed the law. Now I know this is maybe not representative of the entire student body, but it certainly proves that a fair amount of young people think this law is outdated and sexist. Perla Cabera, a junior at Southwestern, said “we took several steps back” and now “everyone with a uterus is now more at risk”. When asked about how this law will affect the next generation of women in Texas, she replied that she “… feels bad for women who have to grow up in this environment instead of a sex-positive environment where they are allowed to make decisions about their bodies”. In addition to students, I had the honor of asking my wonderful feminist studies professor Dr. Renegar. When asked the same question she rather focused on safety. She replied that she expected “…that young women will begin encountering other women, or stories of other women, who have terrible advice for how to abort a fetus on their own. This advice will run the gamut from ineffective and silly to dangerous and life-threatening. We will also see a rise in unsafe, unregulated, underground abortion providers who have not been trained to care for women atht will seek to profit from their situation. Many women will die horrible deaths out of sheer desperation, and we will see the same stories that emerged in the 1960s about the importance of reproductive health care.” The question that should be posed here to Texas political officials is: How many people are we willing to lose as an effect of this law?
Ultimately, the new generation of Texans are the ones who will have to live through this new legislation era and see its effects. Women are not only someone’s mom or sister or girlfriend. We are ourselves, and that should be enough to convince the world to let us have control over our own bodies. With the foster care system in shambles and abstinence-only education monopolizing our schools, how does this law do anything but put health restrictions on the women of Texas? There is also the fact that this law will not stop abortions but rather promote unsafe abortions. Women should not serve as a vessel for a possible life. Instead, women should simply exist as whatever they want to exist. This law perpetuates the outdated idea that other people have the right to place limitations on our bodies. As for people without a uterus, you may not agree with abortion, and to that, I say that’s fine. Good thing you’ll never have to have one. To those directly affected in Texas and to my peers at Southwestern, I would like to say to embrace your choices as a human and never let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do with your body. This law does not define you.
Here is a list of organizations that are helping to fight the law: