New Texas abortion law violates roe v. wade, and women's constitutional rights

Catherine Onorato '22, Lucy Palma '23

New Texas Abortion Law violates Roe v. Wade, and Women’s Constitutional Rights

On September 1, 2021 Texas legislation passed a law banning abortions for all pregnancies in which a heartbeat is detected. A heartbeat is typically detected after around 6 weeks of a pregnancy, a time when most women do not even know they are pregnant. Furthermore, the law makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. This law comes as a direct hit at women’s rights in both Texas and our nation. Not only does it limit women’s right to choose, but it also rewards people who limit it. The law grants a $10,000 reward to anyone who turns in or sues someone providing an abortion, so everyone involved in the abortion process except the actual women. 

 

The reason women cannot actually be sued or turned in is because Roe v. Wade still stands, which protects women’s privacy in having an abortion, however the law violates Roe v. Wade in other ways. Therefore the law attacks all the other people: the doctors, nurses, Planned Parenthood employees, and the families of women who have received abortions. By doing so, it makes it impossible for women to get an abortion, because although it is technically legal for them to seek an abortion, it is not legal for anyone to preform it. This law was able to pass because of the conservative shift in the Supreme Court after Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett took her place. RBG made millions of steps forward for women such as Barrett, but Barrett has plans to sit in the Supreme Court and reverse HER OWN rights. 

 

The passing of this law is detrimental to women’s rights in our country, because it puts the government in control of what women choose to do with their own bodies. Regardless of anyone else's personal views, it is a basic fundamental human right for everyone in our country to have control over their own bodies, and that includes women. Not only is the government making these decisions for women, but it is the male lawmakers and politicians who could never even get pregnant that feel they should control women. 

 

As important as having the right to choose is for women’s rights, it does not mean abortion is a postive and good thing, it is simply a necassary evil. When someone argues the right for women to choose, they are not saying everyone should get an abortion or that it is benefical or a good thing, but that it is a personal and complex decision for women to make and that is no ones right to decide except the woman. If the government and pro-lifers feel so strongly about saving children and saving lives, then they should also be consistent with their ideals. They should support all the things that support women when having a child, and support the child once they come into the world, such as early childhood education, prenatal benefits for mothers, and adoption and foster care programs. Not only should they be supporting all these benefits, but if they truly are pro-life, than they should also be arguing for gun reforms, the abolishment the death penalty, as well as the restriction of violence/wars. However the politicians in office and their supporters do not argue universally pro-life, they only argue pro-life when it comes to restricting a woman’s right to choose. 

 

As women living in 2021, this law sets us back decades. As soon as one step is taken towards women's rights, two are taken against it. We can thank the previous administration for this. The Trump administration and GOP made a concerted effort to change the complexion of the Supreme Court. Trump and a conservative Congress made it their mission to appoint conservative judges while Trump had the power and authority to do so. The irony in this is that under the Obama Administration, the GOP blocked Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly in 2016. Merrick Garland, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee was denied hearings by the GOP on the grounds that his nomination was too close to the end of his administration for it to be fair. Fast forward four years, and that same group of GOP Senators pushed through an accused rapist Bret Kavanaugh in 2018 and Amy Coney Barrett in 2020 with only months left in Trumps’ term as President. We are now seeing the effects of that political move. As recently as a few days ago, two Texas doctors were charged with a crime for performing abortions in their state.

 

The same constituency that claims that requiring citizens in their state to wear a mask is government over-reach, refuses to see see the government over-reach in banning abortion in their state. Whether or not a women chooses to have an abortion is her decison, not the government, or her friends, or politicians; by adding legislation to limit abortion rights, the government is limiting women’s rights.