The Texas Abortion Law that Undermines a Woman’s Right to Choose is an Attack of Roe V Wade.
By: Riley Mulcahy
The same state that elected Progressive Governor Ann Richards in 1991 passed an extreme and oppressive law banning abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, which effectively bans abortions. According to The New York Times, some women do not know that they are pregnant until after the sixth-week mark.
Abortion access has been a highly debated topic for the last fifty years; however, the landmark case, Roe V. Wade, explicitly gives women the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Republicans have called themselves “pro-life” for decades, but this is a misconstrued notion. The fact that a party that is allegedly based on “personal freedoms” would not understand that there are circumstances that make abortion the only option for women is indefensible, but not shocking. Nonetheless, it shows the hypocrisy of the argument that they make when they call themselves “pro-life.”
The most disturbing part of the bill is that there is no caveat for rape or incest and that healthcare providers and ride-share drivers are liable for aiding an abortion. Instead of focusing on the fact that rape and incest are two of the most traumatic and abusive things that a woman can endure, the lawmakers negate this and instead fight on for the “sancity of life.”
Do not let the “sanctity of life” argument fool you. For decades, there has been an infusion of warped “Christan values” infused with the Republican Party’s platform. However, their platform does not include any social programs needed to avoid abortions in the first place, instead opting to argue “personal responsibility.” It is mind-boggling and unacceptable that even when a woman is a victim of rape or incest, she will not have access to safe abortions.
In response to ride-share drivers being thrown into this mess of a bill, both Uber and Lyft have come out with statements in defense of a woman’s right to choose. Lyft has pledged a million dollars to Planned Parenthood and stated that drivers do not ask riders where they are going. Riders should never be worried that they are breaking the law by requesting a car to get access to needed healthcare, and it is not the driver’s job to judge you based on the location you are going to.
Although the conversation is centered on Texas and its atrocious law, there needs to be more considerable discussion surrounding the notion of freedom in the context of abortion. The same states that refuse to implement COVID-19 mandates based on the idea that it attacks their personal freedom are so quick to attack a woman’s right to choose. Although surprisingly, Republican Governors have just started to implement restrictive laws surrounding abortion, Roe v. Wade is still rightfully the law of the land, and the ACLU has already announced that they will see Texas in court because of the abortion law. This should go without saying, but the “personal freedom” argument about not wearing a mask should never be compared to the pain a woman must be feeling when deciding whether or not to have an abortion.
States have defunded healthcare clinics such as Planned Parenthood because they perform abortions; however, according to Planned Parenthood, only three percent of the services they provide are abortions.
When we attack reproductive freedom, we also attack access to healthcare for impoverished communities, something that is always the case when abortion is restricted. Rich politicians and their wives and/or mistresses will not have a problem finding a way to get an abortion when it is convenient to them. Still, they will be the first ones to condemn poor women for not “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” and having the baby regardless of the circumstances of the pregnancy or the lack of access to essential services they will face due to Republicans relentless attack on a woman’s right to choose.
Saint Mary’s campus is not immune to the anti-abortion movement. At the recent involvement fair, there was a pro-life club represented. Let me make this clear: being against abortion is not the problem, and it is safe to say that people who identify as pro-choice would love to live in a world where abortion does not need to be an option. However, the disconnect between the term “pro-life” and reality is that it negates the very real situations that women face out of their control, such as rape and incest. Furthermore, a woman does not owe anyone an explanation on why she does not want to continue with a pregnancy, regardless of the opinions of anti-choice voices.
Melanie Moyer '22,