“If I wanted the government in my uterus, I’d f— a senator,” is the battle cry of feminists across the nation after Texas passed Senate Bill (S.B.) 8.
To the disbelief of pro-choice activists across the country, S.B. 8 — also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act — went into effect Sept. 1. The law prohibits doctors from performing abortions if they can detect a “fetal heartbeat,” which can be as early as six weeks.
The term “fetal heartbeat” is misleading. According to NPR, the Texas Heartbeat Ban’s “fetal heartbeat” isn’t even a heartbeat. When listening to a heartbeat through a stethoscope, the sound that you hear is caused by the cardiac valves opening and closing. However, at six weeks, those valves don’t exist.
This makes it near impossible for someone to get an abortion — including victims of incest and rape. On average, a person becomes aware of their pregnancy around five and a half weeks after their last menstrual cycle, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. At that point, for some, the “fetal heartbeat” is already detectable and they’re unable to receive an abortion in Texas.
For others, they have to scramble to find a clinic with available appointments, come up with the funds to pay for the procedure and hope a “heartbeat” isn’t detectable before their appointment.
Did the lawmakers ever stop to think about the Americans to whom they’re subjugating these archaic laws to? They’re subjecting incest and rape victims to forced pregnancies. They’re forcing pregnancies onto unwilling parents. They’re taking away people’s choices.
The most astonishing part of the act is the state doesn’t enforce it. The law makes private citizens enforce the abortion ban while also criminalizing anyone who helps the person get an abortion — such as the person driving them to the clinic.
Something truly mind-boggling is how over two-thirds of Texan lawmakers are male. They regulate something they don’t have. If they have such an issue with abortions, why not stop the unwanted pregnancy before it starts? Standardize birth control access and solve the issue. But that’s not their goal, is it?
The act is just another piece in Texas’ — and the Republican party’s — goal to restrict women’s autonomy.
Supporters of the law parade behind their “Pro-Life” slogans and pictures of fetuses, claiming it protects “unborn children” and doesn’t hurt pregnant people — since those who receive the abortion can’t be sued, according to PBS.
Other people have different theories explaining the abortion ban. Many state the obvious: religion is the cause.
Over 90% of Texan lawmakers practice some form of Christianity, according to the Texas Tribune. Roughly one-third of Texan lawmakers are Catholic. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Church is against abortion.
Americans have the freedom of religion. If you believe in the Christian God, there is nothing wrong with that. But don’t try to push your religious agenda on others.
Abortions aren’t something religious conservatives can hold hostage by their ulterior motives, whatever they are. The Texas Heartbeat Act is a monstrosity that should have never seen the light of day. It’s a violation of human rights.
Despite the blatant disregard for human rights, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the Texas law on Sept. 1, in a five-to-four ruling. On Oct. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to an expedited review for Nov. 1, according to the Washington Post.
But the fight isn’t only in the courts.
Activists have been protesting across the nation. On Oct. 2, Planned Parenthood was joined by over 90 other organizations to march in all 50 states. The event was labeled the “March to Defend Abortion Access.”
On the same day, Latina comedian and activist, Cristela Alonza, hosted a rally in Washington, D.C.
“I always believed that with the passing of time progress would happen, change for the greater good would happen,” Alonzo said to the crowd. “But now I stand here because lawmakers are working on doing the exact opposite by creating legislation that not only takes away our choices but can take away our lives.”
She wants lawmakers to know “[people with uteruses] are capable of deciding what’s best for [them].”
Texan lawmakers don’t care about human rights. They don’t care about Americans with uteruses. Truthfully, it feels like they don’t care about lives. But some government officials are fighting against them.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordered the suspension of the abortion ban in a 113-page opinion on Oct. 8. However, according to AP News, some Texan abortion clinics may not resume operation. Until there is a more permanent legal decision, doctors continue to fear legal action against them.
Illinois State Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced a bill dubbed “The EXpanding Abortion Services Act,” or TExAS. The bill would give Illinoisans the right to seek damages against anyone who commits sexual assault, domestic abuse, or causes an unwanted pregnancy. Cassidy told NPR Illinois:
“If folks are policing the bodies of people who are seeking reproductive healthcare in Texas, well, then maybe we should be policing the bodies of the people who are causing those problems here in Illinois.”
The Texas Heartbeat Act’s existence makes action essential. Educating yourself on the matter is vital. Attending protests is necessary, because:
Abortion is our healthcare. Abortion is our right. Abortion is our choice.