Texas is considering several pieces of legislation that would be devastating to women’s healthcare. Unfortunately, these bills are very likely to pass and become law in Texas. They are some of the most extreme in the country and completely anti-choice. Sadly, Texas provides no sex education to prevent unplanned pregnancy, so 45-49% of pregnancies are unplanned. Of course, not all of those pregnancies will end up with abortion, but 40% do. Women should have the ability to make that choice. We must protect abortion rights.
First, let’s go over the bills.
This bill bans abortion in the state of Texas after six weeks. (Texas law currently prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks.) This law is particularly wrong as many women do not realize they’re pregnant until after they’re six weeks into their pregnancy, especially since almost half of pregnancies are unplanned. They may have an irregular menstrual cycle or experience spotting, which is incredibly common in early pregnancy, and believe that is their period. At-home pregnancy tests may show a false negative until five or six weeks. In addition, typical symptoms such as nausea and fatigue don’t usually show up until after six weeks.
It almost makes it legal for anybody to sue anybody who helped a woman get an abortion or an abortion provider, with doctors facing criminal or civil charges. This bill is so loosely written that even a rapist could sue a doctor for criminal charges who provides an abortion to his victim after six weeks.
This bill states that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will be illegal in Texas, with very few exceptions. It also asserts that doctors will be subject to disciplinary actions.
Mifepristone is a medication that causes abortion. It already has FDA restrictions and is proven to be a very safe way to induce an abortion. However, this bill restricts how and when women can use it.
This piece of legislation wholly violates women’s privacy, forcing them to reveal their personal medical decisions to unlicensed strangers in anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Keep in mind that those who work in Crisis Pregnancy Centers need no physicians at all, yet women have to share their private medical decisions with somebody who doesn’t have the oath to follow HIPAA. They also do not have to provide reasonable or accurate medical advice. In Texas, they are not subject to HIPAA; however, the Texas government still funds Crisis Pregnancy Centers with taxpayer funds despite giving inaccurate information to pregnant women.
I highly recommend watching this John Oliver video on Crisis Pregnancy Centers for more information on them. What they’re allowed to say and do will sicken you.
This bill is probably the most heinous piece of legislation that is being pushed. It forces women to carry nonviable pregnancies until they miscarry. A woman knows her baby will die, but she has to carry it anyways. Some brain abnormalities are not found until 20-21 weeks and can carry to term. However, abortion is not allowed, even though the baby will die and the pregnancy and birth will risk the mother’s life.
Even if a woman miscarries and doesn’t carry to term, knowing she will have to give birth to a dead baby is heartbreaking and sickening to insist upon her doing. She should have the right to end the life of her fetus if it doesn’t carry to term. Insisting she carry it until she has a miscarriage and gives birth to a dead child is traumatic.
Currently, Austin provides logistical help for women to obtain abortions. They fund things like childcare, travel, and doula support. This legislation prohibits all cities from providing this help for women who are seeking abortions.
This is an omnibus-style bill. It adds more restrictions and hurdles for both pregnant women seeking abortions and doctors who provide them. The 56-page bill can be found here.
These pieces of legislation are bad for women, bad for healthcare, and bad for Texas. However, it is incredibly likely they will pass both chambers and be signed into law by Governor Abbott.
Why are men making these decisions for women? And if Republicans want a small government, why are they creating so much legislation about my uterus?
Ultimately, it should not be any politician’s decision to figure out what any woman does with her body, whether she is pregnant or not. A woman has the right to choose what is best for her. And we cannot accept that our choices are unquestionably being taken away.