Politick: Texas Abortion Law
October 12, 2021
Lone Star State plays ping-pong with morality
When does life begin? What constitutes life? These questions, and their subsequent answers, drove the Texas legislature to pass a law which bans most abortions after six weeks.
Before dissecting the new law, I find it necessary to answer those very same questions.
Many biologists believe life begins at conception. There is no point, other than fertilization of an egg, where one can draw the cutoff for what is alive and what is not. If the ability to live without external support constitutes life, then every person on a respirator or taking medication to prevent organ rejection is “dead.” If a heart beating is the metric for living, then any person on bypass is “dead.” If conscious thought establishes life, then a coma patient is “dead.”
These prerequisites for life – external support, heartbeat, conscious thought – fail to completely define what is alive and what is not. Killing a person in any of these circumstances would still be considered a homicide. Why should these exemptions be considered justification for abortion? They shouldn’t.
It is my firmest belief that abortion is a moral wrong. That does not mean abortion has no place in the world
The 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade established abortion as a constitutional right. The decision was intrinsically flawed, as it created a right which was never enumerated in the Constitution, spun out of whole cloth by Chief Justice Burger.
The ramifications of Roe v. Wade are still felt today. In 2018 there were over 600,000 abortions in the United States. To put that into perspective, there were approximately 3.7 million births that same year, meaning that any given fetus had a roughly 14% (1 in 7) chance of being aborted.
And then there is the Texas law. Banning most abortions after six weeks ought to be very controversial: if there is no clear line for when life begins (other than conception), then in a world with legal abortions, there can be no clear line for when abortion should be allowed or prohibited. The Texas legislature did what every state has to do, they made a decision and stuck to it. Disagreement with that decision doesn’t make it any less valid.
It is my firmest belief that abortion is a moral wrong. That does not mean abortion has no place in the world.”
— Reagan Eastlick
Where Texas went wrong was with their enforcement of the law. Instead of being enforced by the state, any Texas citizen is able to report and testify against those who receive a now-illegal abortion. The normal avenue to fight against anti-abortion laws is to sue those who enforce the law (normally state officials). By putting enforcement in the hands of every Texan, pro-abortion groups cannot sue the state and are unable to sue every individual. No suing means courts are unable to reverse the law.
The structure of the law is brilliant and brand new, but also authoritarian. Creating a law that is unable to be challenged, pitting neighbor against neighbor, and exploiting court procedures is deeply wrong. More so than this, it opens the flood gates to a whole slew of laws which follow the same structure, the same grey areas. Remember – just because you agree with this law does not mean you will agree with the next.
My point is that abortion (excluding special circumstances) is morally wrong, and that the government should keep its fingers out of such a private and deeply personal decision. The libertarian perspective says “live and let live.” If you hate abortion, don’t abort. If you don’t, make whichever decision suits you best. The consequences of either decision are the mother’s to live with.
Texas tramples women’s rights in search of political win
Ever since Texas passed its most recent heartbeat law, there is no way to avoid the division it has brought to people. The topic of what actions should be given a choice has only gotten louder.
Signed on Sept. 21, the bill has caused an enormous amount of outrage. The effects of it are now felt, as it took effect in September. The bill states that abortions will be banned after six weeks of conceiving. To put this into further perspective, most women don’t know they’re pregnant until weeks 4-7. In the most ideal situation, a woman is only given two weeks to decide whether or not they want an abortion. And no, there are no exceptions for women who were raped or are having children as a product of incest.
The implementation of this bill has sent the Texas justice system back in time. After the decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion laws remained where women had the choice. But, the Texas justice system has seemed to find a way to give the illusion of choice by allowing ‘six weeks’ for the woman. Women barely have any time to think, and providing them with just six weeks isn’t enough to say they have a choice.
The main thing that has caused the swarm of hate and anger is the loss of choice. Many women in Texas lost their rights in May…”
— Rylee Moss
The main source cited for passing this bill was to prevent the murder of children. Whether or not you agree that abortion is murder, this fact alone goes into even more hypocrisy posed by this bill. State representative Bryan Slaton wants to go as far as proposing a death penalty for Texans who get abortions.
Although Slaton’s words may seem like a drastic example of just how controlling Texas lawmakers are willing to be, the ideals can still be found in many. And that is where many stand divided. The topic of providing women the choice has become a political one. On one side, we see many conservatives in support of the bill. They generally agree on the idea that abortion is murder, and that they want to prevent this. But on the other side, we see many liberals believe that this isn’t murder. But that begs the question, why is there so much outrage?
The main thing that has caused the swarm of hate and anger is the loss of choice. Many women in Texas lost their rights in May, and we have no way of knowing how this bill passing can affect other states. But one shred of hope can be seen with the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice has started talks of suing Texas for their restrictive bill. In the following months, we may see the events of Roe v. Wade repeat themselves all over again.
With the loss of freedom this bill invokes, I only continue to advocate for those who have lost control over their body. The nature of choice is very important, especially in the medical field, and Texas is stripping this away. In the end, it is your choice what you want to do with your body. As in other situations where you would like a choice, this one is no different. You can advocate for women’s rights by showing your support towards the pro-choice movement or even sign a petition.