In Texas, abortion has effectively been banned as the so-called Heartbeat Bill criminalises abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Multiple groups, including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), requested that the Supreme Court block the legislation when it was first proposed in May. However, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the law, cutting access to abortion off for millions.
Six weeks is extremely early within a pregnancy. Most people don’t even realise they are pregnant by this point, so this bill heavily takes away the time a person can take to make a choice about their pregnancy. It sentences women to motherhood, rather than allowing motherhood to be a loving choice.
Moreover, this will no doubt affect the most vulnerable of women – women of colour, poor women, women in abusive relationships, and young women and children in abusive homes.
Anti-abortion sentiment in the US and the UK isn’t new. Since abortion was legalised in the US by Roe v. Wade in the 70s, and the 60s in the UK, multiple groups have been fighting to repeal the laws. This is while they ignore the pleas of women who want to keep access to safe abortion open.
Before abortion was legalised, women would use backstreet clinics or dangerous home remedies to get rid of pregnancies, at risk of killing themselves in the process. It is feared women will turn back to these dangerous methods, such as drinking bleach, to rid themselves of an unwanted pregnancy.
Restricting abortion doesn’t make it go away. It simply makes abortion more dangerous.
Recommended Reading: Abortion: Is it really a man’s decision?
Abortion isn’t a light choice. Women have abortions for many various reasons. Pregnancy is dangerous, particularly for women of colour. A lot of women can’t afford to have children, or they got pregnant as a result of rape and abuse. And sometimes, they simply do not want a child.
It is okay if you are against abortion. That’s fine. But to take that choice away from millions of women and girls is plain wrong. I suppose bodily autonomy only matters when it comes to wearing a thin piece of fabric over your mouth, or vaccines.
What I’ve always found so funny about anti-abortion activists is that once that child is born, they do not seem to care. I have not once seen a video of these ‘pro-life’ activists when harassing women and doctors outside abortion clinics offering to adopt that child once they are born, since they care so much about that pregnancy being carried to term.
This isn’t about giving a child a chance or caring about babies. This is about extensive control over a woman’s body and limiting the choices they have.
Recommended Reading: The gender health gap
Do you really want children to thrive? Ensure we live in a society that actually supports poor families, with a working welfare system, equal pay and free childcare. Ensure sex education is taught properly in schools to reduce teen pregnancies, and teach boys that sexual assault and abuse isn’t okay.
However, considering that these governors and groups seem unwilling to do all of that, a more peaceful solution to all this is minding your own business when it comes to other people’s choices.
Women are not incubators. We should be able to choose motherhood and pregnancy. The success of this Texas legislation is worrying, as it gives multiple anti-abortion groups hope and ammunition in the fight to restrict healthcare.
Whilst here in the UK, there is little sign that a law like this could come into effect, it shows how easy the restriction of abortion can be achieved. And we should all be vigilant.