The new abortion law is unacceptable
Abortion is a constitutional right in the United States, thanks to the Roe v. Veal. Texas’s new abortion law, SB8, is unacceptable.
In short: A new law passed by the Texas legislature will make it very difficult for women * to abort after the first six weeks of pregnancy. I believe this takes the state back about 50 years to the period before Roe v. Wade, and threatens women’s reproductive rights. It is consequential, because other states are likely to follow.
of Texas SB8 is the strictest anti-abortion law in the United States After the first six weeks of pregnancy, when many women may not even know they are pregnant, the women’s agency takes their bodies away, puts Texas doctors practicing under unsustainable conditions abortions situation and likely creates further inequalities between women who have resources and can afford to travel out of state and those who cannot. The legislation also adds a bizarre element where people can sue abortion providers and anyone who helps a woman have an abortion, offering $ 10,000 for a successful cause. Lawmakers essentially created a bounty system, potentially pitting Texans against each other.
September 1, 2021 – The American Public Health Association voices alarm today over the failure of the Supreme Court to block a Texas law banning six-week abortion, effectively undermining the Roe v. Wade decision. The court’s inaction allows one of the nation’s strictest abortion laws to come into effect. Texas law runs counter to long-standing APHA policy which upholds women’s fundamental right to a full range of reproductive health services, including abortion.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Center for Disease Prevention and Control), about 620,000 abortions were performed in the United States in 2018, the latest year for which complete data were available. The highest percentages were for women between the ages of 20 and 20. By race / ethnicity, the highest percentages were for non-Hispanic white women and for non-Hispanic black women. CDC reports also indicated that over 52% of abortions were surgical abortions within the 13th week of gestation and nearly 39% were early medical abortions (a non-surgical abortion within the 9th week of gestation). Their data shows that the use of early medical abortion increased by 9% from 2017 to 2018 and by 120% from 2009 to 2018.
It has been well documented for many years that most women who have abortions would rather not be in that situation. The most common reasons women seek abortion are financial (40%), timing (36%), partner-related (31%), and the need to focus on other children (29%) (Biggs, Gould and Foster , 2013). The reasons vary from country to country.
Roe v. Calf still relevant
Today’s youth may find it shocking, but when I was in my freshman year of college, gynecologists required women under 21 who wanted prescriptions for the pill to get letters from their parents. Given the restrictive access to effective birth control, many college students found themselves pregnant and unprepared to carry their pregnancies to term or to their parents. Abortion was illegal in 30 states (including Michigan, where I went to college) and legal in some circumstances in 20 states. I strongly felt that women should have the right to make reproductive decisions about their own bodies. In my freshman year of college, I advised women on abortion and where to get the procedure. The women who came to us were not frivolous. They were upset and made agonizing decisions. Every week, we receive lists of doctors in Ohio who performed abortions. We have given women information, including on costs. Patients were asked to bring cash to their appointments. Everything about the trial had an underground, under-the-table and potentially insecure feeling, but it was that way before Roe v. Veal. Reproductive rights were not protected by the Constitution.
While abortion was illegal, many women were committed to ending their pregnancies. But since abortion was illegal, no agency was responsible for ensuring its safety; that is, to verify the credentials of doctors who have performed surgical abortions or the cleaning of structures; and medical abortion (use of drugs to end pregnancy) was not possible in those days. It was a risky business. As reported by the Guttmacher Institute, women miscarried before the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973, but many of these were performed in unsafe conditions. Women will continue to have abortions and should not be forced to risk their lives in the process. Women should be given the pros and cons and make informed decisions about their reproductive life in the context of their relationships and situations. The Texas legislature took a huge leap back.
I am incredibly sad and distressed that a battle that women of my generation fought hard to win is now at stake in the United States. More states are likely to follow Texas’s lead, and the Supreme Court may not support Roe v. Veal. We shouldn’t go back to the days when women took their lives into their own hands to have abortions, and often poor women were denied abortions because they couldn’t afford to travel to get them. Abortion should be a private matter, and not something that lawmakers should handle. I encourage all of our students to know the facts, because your reproductive future is at stake.
* Although the vast majority of abortions globally are delivered to individuals who identify as women, we recognize [as International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) acknowledges] that other people who do not identify as women (such as trans men / male and non-binary trans people) can also experience pregnancy and abortion.
banner photo by jordanuhl7 via Wikimedia Commons, licensed by cc-by-2.0.