On September 1st, the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas to ban most abortions took effect.
The state of Texas has implemented Senate Bill 8 (SB8) which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest.
This has been announced to be the worst and most extreme legislative restriction on reproductive rights to date. This bill is a near-total abortion ban, with only an exemption for medical emergencies.
Regardless of if you are pro-choice or pro-life, this legislation is beyond reason. The bill states that this, already absurd, six-week practice does not apply from fertilisation, but from six weeks after a woman’s last period. This is a period in which most women are not even aware they are pregnant yet. 90% of the state’s previous procedures occurred after six weeks, and the percentage of women who reported timing of pregnancy awareness at six weeks or less was 23%. This means women are completely stripped of their decisions and rights as chances are they won’t even know they are pregnant.
United Nations human rights monitors have strongly condemned the state of Texas, they have declared this new anti-abortion law violates international law by denying women control over their own bodies and endangering their lives. Although my opinion as an extreme pro-choicer means I don’t believe you have to have a strong reason to want an abortion, the fact this bill ensures rape and incest victims can never escape the trauma and pain they are already experiencing is difficult to understand.
In my opinion, the most important aspect to investigate regarding this law is how it is going to affect women and their lives, but more importantly how it will affect the vulnerable. This bill will only ban safe abortions.
The decision to ban abortion not only puts the women at risk, but they are now subjecting health professionals and abortion service providers to more violence. Human rights bodies have long acknowledged the fact creating more challenges to obtain an abortion through suing anyone who aids in abortions, as well as the literal denial of accessing abortion, is cruel and inhumane. This will dangerously affect the lives and safety of women from here on out.
Melizza Upreti, the chair of the UN’s working group on discrimination against women and girls, criticised the new law stating, “This new law will make abortion unsafe and deadly, and create a whole new set of risks for women and girls. It is profoundly discriminatory and violates a number of rights guaranteed under international law.”
The international law states governments are allowed to regulate voluntary terminations of pregnancy. The encouragement of suing anyone who “aids” an abortion for around $10,000 and many legal fees, will only see a reduction in safe abortions under medical care. It isn’t an unknown topic or concept women for decades have had to subject their bodies to torture and extreme danger to undergo an abortion themselves without professional help. Up to 13.2% of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortions and the World Health Organisation have declared almost every abortion death and disability could be prevented through legal induced abortion. The result of this bill will be extreme.
This bill is a clear attack on the rights and lives of all women, but above all will punish those who are poor and black. This bill will hurt women indefinitely and I fear for what is next to come.