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Women Need Abortion Rights and Here’s Why

Now that I’m older and in college, or really almost graduating from college (although we won’t go there because the idea of that is STRANGE) I’ve been trying to keep up with the news. New York Times and NPR are my go-to’s. While catching up with the news can be depressing at times, I think it’s important to try and be aware of what is going on in the country and internationally so I can spread the word and show my support on issues that matter to me. Whether that’s by protesting, voting, writing articles, or any other number of ways people can exercise their political voice. I also think it’s impressive and it makes me feel smart when I can participate in current events discussions.

If you want to start paying attention to the news, I think the easiest way is podcasts. I love podcasts! True crime podcasts, podcasts about what’s going on cosmically with the world’s energy, psychology and wellness podcasts, economic podcasts, news podcasts, and did I mention true crime podcasts? They’re so convenient and allow me to multi-task which is exactly why I started consuming news through podcasts. It allowed me to stay up to date on what is happening while doing my morning routine! No need to wake up earlier to read articles when you can listen while doing your skincare or making breakfast.

It was one of the many podcasts from NPR or the New York Times that first introduced me to the Texas ban on abortion all those months ago. On May 19th the Texan Governor Greg Abbot signed the Texas Heartbeat Act on abortion making it an official law. The Texas ban on abortion on abortion, also known as the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” took effect this past September. Under this law, abortions are banned at the first sign of a heartbeat which is approximately six weeks. Six weeks is an incredibly short amount of time! Six weeks is only two weeks after an average regular menstrual cycle. So, more often than not, at 6 weeks many women do not know they are pregnant! Unlike anti-abortion laws in the past, this law targets abortion providers and anyone supposedly aiding and abetting. How the law works is that it deputizes citizens and makes it their individual responsibility to enforce this ban on abortion rather than government officials. This means that anyone who the abortion causes harm to can sue anyone involved in the process of abortion. Including an organization like Planned Parenthood who provides the service, the doctor conducting the procedure, or even the Lyft driver who is driving the woman to her appointment. To make matters worse, NPR reported that “anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider under this law could be awarded at least $10,000.” The existence of this law is setting a frightening precedent. While other states have passed similar heartbeat ban laws, this is the first law to deputize citizens. Giving everyday citizens the ability to sue anyone they believe is involved with helping women get an abortion is setting up a system that can easily be abused!

If you’ve been reading this you might be thinking, “what about Roe v. Wade?!” Roe v. Wade was passed 7-2 in 1973, and for the past 48 years has been protecting women’s rights to have a legal and safe abortion under the 14th amendment of the constitution. Some people are speculating that the Texas Heartbeat Act is a law conservatives are using to test the water and see if they can overturn Roe v. Wade. While there have been decades of precedent since Roe v. Wade supporting the right to abortion, this issue the Supreme Court is looking at the Mississippi ban on abortion which bans abortions after 15 weeks. If the Supreme Court does not rule that this law is unconstitutional it could mark a terrifying change in precedent. 

As of late September, the Supreme Court has been suing Texas citing that the Texas Heartbeat Ban is unconstitutional! However, because of how the law is set up (meaning because it deputizes citizens) it makes the law tricky to sue. When it was seen by the Federal District Court Judge in Austin, the New York Times wrote it was ruled that the Supreme Court had no grounds to sue because the law “did not harm it”. Which is (excuse my French) bullshit! The Texas Heartbeat Act on abortion does hurt the Supreme Court because it sets a dangerous precedent that shows a loophole in the Supreme Court’s power. It tells law markers that they can pass any law constitutional or not if they deputize citizens. And if our government can do that, what is even the point of the constitution? Our constitution, first and foremost, is supposed to protect the rights of citizens, and if this ban is allowed to stand, what will be allowed next?  

If you haven’t been able to tell by me writing this article, I am staunchly pro-choice. To me, there are many reasons a woman might want and should be able to have an abortion. If they were impregnated in a mentally, emotionally, or physically abusive relationship being forced to carry and give birth to the baby can retraumatize the woman. If the woman is not able to economically provide for the baby—while some people’s response to that is to give the baby up for adoption that means possibly putting the baby in the foster care system which in the U.S. comes with its own disadvantages and challenges. Another reason that should be just as valid is if the woman simply does not want to be pregnant or give birth. Being pregnant and giving birth changes your body physically and hormonally in major ways and it should be a woman’s choice as to whether or not to subject herself to that. These reasons are only to name a few. 

For decades the government, the church, doctors, and just men in general, have determined what a woman should do with her body. When abortion is made illegal the frequency of it occurring does not decrease, all that decreases is the level of safety by which the procedure is conducted. Unsafe abortions can lead to serious and long-term complications both physically and economically. 

We need to stand up for women’s right to free and safe abortion, if Roe v. Wade can be overturned it seems like now more than ever that time might be approaching. Because of that, it’s important that we use our political voice and show that this is an issue people care about.

Megan is attending Emmanuel College and working toward a double major in Sociology with a concentration in Social Justice and Inequality, and International Studies with a concentration in Global Justice and Sustainability. When Megan isn't writing articles for Her Campus you can find her baking and listening to crime podcasts, traveling, taking care of her plants, or hiking! https://www.instagram.com/meg_evangeline/
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