The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Sunday November 28th

OPINION: The ‘Heartbeat Bill’ is fervently anti-women

Editor's note: This article was intended for publication on September 18, but could not be published until now because of our website was offline.

By Delaney Smith

Texas recently passed a law that bans women from getting an abortion after a heartbeat has been detected in a fetus, which normally occurs around six weeks into a pregnancy — before most women even know they are pregnant. This new law does not provide exceptions to pregnancies from rape or incest. A man could rape a minor and that minor would have no legal way to abort the resulting fetus.

Writing that opening paragraph made me feel sick to my stomach. This bill makes my blood boil. This bill should make any woman’s blood boil. Our autonomy, our ability to choose when and if we want to be pregnant, has been revoked.

I cannot stress enough how dangerous this law is. It not only threatens the future of women’s health, but also the incredibly important ruling of Roe v. Wade. The complete and utter disregard for the importance of a woman’s right to choose is frankly astounding. Now, women in Texas have little to no way of saying whether or not they want a child.

It does not matter if the mother is living in poverty and cannot financially support herself, let alone a baby. She cannot abort the fetus.

It does not matter if the mother believes that she would be raising the child in an unsafe or toxic environment. She cannot abort the fetus.

It does not matter if the mother has been raped or if the child is the product of an incestuous relationship. She cannot abort the fetus.

(Flickr / “Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and her lawyer Gloria Allred on the steps of the Supreme Court, 1989” by Lorie Shaull. Feb. 18, 2017.)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has addressed the concerns about rape by claiming that, “‘Texas will work tirelessly that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets,’” according to an article published by CBS News.

In essence, Texas will try to take care of the rapists. But if you get raped and get pregnant? Oh well. You’re on your own.

Does everyone see what a dangerous environment this creates for women in Texas? Even if a woman wants a child but something happens that impedes her pregnancy or means that the baby will not live after birth, the woman must carry it to term. This is not just about a woman’s right to choose — this bill threatens to decimate a woman’s right to a safe birth as well.

I wish I could say that I understand where these lawmakers are coming from, but I just don’t. If this law is truly about being “pro-life,” then why aren’t Texas lawmakers also trying to push laws and acts that would improve the quality of life for these children? Why aren’t lawmakers trying to get every child in school free lunch regardless of family income? Why aren’t they trying to improve the foster care system?

I believe with all my heart that there is just one answer to these questions: these lawmakers do not care about children’s success. They just want women to suffer.

That may sound harsh, but when one considers how dangerous some of the provisions of S.B. No. 8 are for women, it becomes a much more reasonable claim. This is a bill that does everything in its power to strip women’s rights to freedom of choice. This is a bill that empowers and pays Texans to sue people who help women get abortions. It really does seem like the law is less about the lives of these unborn fetuses and more about impeding women, who simply want to choose if they are financially or emotionally ready for a child.

With all of that said, women are resilient. They are brave and strong and ready to fight a bill like this. Social media has been in an uproar over this abortion ban for weeks, and legal action has been taken against the law. Now we wait and see if this law stays in effect. We can only hope that it gets shot down by a court before irreparable damage is done to the entirety of women’s health forever.


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