Screw You Texas, and Screw Your Abortion Ban, Too!


Bee Bishop, Staff Writer

On Sept. 1, the Texas Heartbeat Act took effect, banning all abortions six weeks after insemination. The tricky part about the bill is that the patients receiving the abortion aren’t on the chopping block, but instead those that administer the abortion, or assist the patient in receiving the abortion. While this act never directly implicates the patients, it will undoubtedly have an effect on abortion rates, and not a positive one.

I am pro-choice. I think there should be unobstructed access to safe abortions. Pregnancy is something that drastically changes a person’s life and if someone isn’t ready to be pregnant, or never had the wish to be pregnant, then that is their decision and they should be able to make it without judgement. Unless the patient decides to have that decision involve someone else, it is strictly the patient’s business. Having an abortion is just like having any other medical procedure; it’s a decision between an individual and their doctor.

When Roe v Wade was passed by the Supreme Court in 1973, central to its passage was the idea that any individual who wanted to receive an abortion should not be prohibited by the law, as it would obstruct the 14th amendment, particularly the part that reads “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Abortion is a medical procedure and, like any other medical procedure, when a patient is denied that procedure, it can and will affect a person’s quality of life. Therefore any move to ban or limit abortion is threatening a person’s quality of life and is unconstitutional. The fact that the abortion debate is still happening is absolutely baffling to me, but therein lies a bigger problem with the Texas Heartbeat Act.

The Heartbeat Act works like this: a random stranger with no affiliation to a case sues someone who aids or administers an abortion. If the stranger wins, they get $10,000, and the person aiding and abetting the person seeking an abortion gets to pay a fine, as well as cover all legal fees for the person suing. If the defendant wins, they still have to pay their own legal fees, not the stranger. In layman’s terms, if the plaintiff wins they gain money and the defendant loses money, and if the defendant wins no one gains money and everyone loses money.

Even before the court comes into session, the law already seems to favor the plaintiff. Moreover, the burden of proving the abortion was lawful falls on the defendant, not the plaintiff. On top of that, the defendant cannot use the following justifications as defenses: the defendant did not know about the law; the patient gave consent to the procedure; and belief that the law is unconstitutional. It even goes on to say that a person’s right to an abortion does not mean that the abortion performed was legal.

All things considered, the law doesn’t technically ban people from getting abortions. And the biggest problem-word in that previous sentence is “technically.” Because never, anywhere on the act, does it say that a person is not allowed to have an abortion. The law doesn’t apply to people who have abortions. However, that’s all semantics. For all intents and purposes, it gets rid of abortions in the state of Texas.

At the bare minimum, this isn’t about whether or not you think abortion is a morally sound procedure. At its core, this act is nothing more than a devious attempt to confine people in terrible living situations. Even the name is misleading; a fetus doesn’t have a developed heart at six weeks, just electrical pulses. And the politicians in Texas know this. They are using technicalities and misconceptions to mislead and confuse the general public.

I can understand that some people may see this as an opportunity to lower the abortion rate. But the reality is that abortion rates don’t go down because abortions are restricted. Abortion rates go down because of proper sex education, greater access to safer and better birth control, and reduced stigma around sex and pregnancy. If your end-goal is less abortions, do not support this bill. If your end-goal is more informed sex, do not support this bill. If your end-goal doesn’t have anything to do with abortion and is just about a government that respects it’s citizens, do not support this bill.