Opinion: Texas Abortion Law Threatens Rights of Women Everywhere


Starting on September 1st, anyone seeking an abortion in the state of Texas found themselves in a dystopian scene worthy of The Handmaids Tale. That’s because a recently signed law allows citizens to sue anyone who aids or abets in abortion after six weeks, ranging from doctors to family members to even taxi drivers. 

The six-week cutoff for abortion is an unrealistic and near-impossible window of time to receive help. Many women either don’t track their cycle or have irregular periods making it hard to detect when their period is late. Under Texas law, a woman only has two weeks to recognize she’s pregnant, make a decision on whether she wants to keep it, and undergo an abortion if she so chooses. Forcing patients to make major health decisions on such short notice is contradictory to the very ideals of ethical care. 

Restrictions on abortion access disproportionately affect women of color, and those living in poverty. Women of color already face a multitude of barriers when seeking out an abortion ranging from income inequality, lack of transportation, institutionalized racism within the medical community, language barriers, racist rhetoric from “pro-life” proponents, and more. Women of color and people experiencing poverty also make up the majority of individuals who obtain abortions. In 2014, 75% of abortion patients were living on an income below the federal poverty level. 

This law won’t stop abortion, it will only penalize impoverished women who don’t have the means to travel out of state and obtain an abortion. Recently, hundreds of Texan women have been flooding abortion clinics in nearby states such as Arizona and Oklahoma. However, doing so requires at least a working car and time off from work. Many women of color and low-income women don’t have these resources, thus furthering the inequities their communities suffer. 

Banning abortion will not stop abortion, it will only stop safe abortion. In countries where abortion is illegal, abortion rates are similar to those of countries where the procedure is legal. The proof is there; whether or not abortion is legal, women will continue having them. In countries where abortion is banned, illegal abortions cause 8 to 11 percent of maternal deaths, about 30,000 each year. The only choice is whether any more women should have to die an entirely preventable death.

Graphic by Bella Wasserman

The “pro-life” movement is not truly pro-life in practice, rather they are anti-choice proponents waging a war on women’s rights under the facade of “saving lives”. There are countless ways of reducing abortion while supporting women rather than harming them such as increased access to contraception, more thorough sex education, state-funded child care, universal pre-k, extended maternal and paternal leave, access to healthcare, and more. 

Generally, the same people who oppose abortion are also the ones refusing to get vaccinated, ironically claiming “my body my choice”, and resist gun safety laws that would save countless lives. If these “pro-life” advocates genuinely cared about saving lives, they’d be championing such causes, however, this is not the case. For anti-choicers, it’s a clear case of bodily regulation for thee but not me. 

How you can help:

Sign the Planned Parenthood petition

Donate to the Lilith Fund

Donate to the Texas Equal Access Fund

Write a Letter to Gov. Greg Abbott