Abortion Laws in Texas: Alive or not?

Kayla Oberholtzer, Print Staff

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021, in Austin, Texas. The rally continued for hours. (Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images/TNS)

   Texas lawmakers decided on Sept. 1, 2021, anyone who has concieved a child after six weeks can not legally have an abortion. This law also calls for anyone who helps someone in receiving an abortion, whether it be giving a ride to the local clinic or giving financial aid, can be sued. The only exception is if death or great injury will come to the mother. Other states have attempted to pass the same law, but were shut down by federal courts and abortion-rights groups. Uproar occurred across the country by women and others who felt this was unfair. 

  “I don’t think it’s fair if they should make it illegal because in certain cases I think it is- I shouldn’t say needed but for instance-I don’t think that the person who was raped should have to go through the whole thing of having a baby when it wasn’t her fault. I don’t think they should take that right away. I also do see where people are coming from. You shouldn’t have to end a life before it started. So I don’t think it should be illegal, but I think the laws should be regulated to where it can only be done in certain instances,” Adam Fennema (11) said.

   Many students who were interviewed questioned the logistics of the abortion law. People are revolting against the new abortion law saying how there is very little time to notice if a person is pregnant or not. A single missed period could mean that the person is pregnant.  Also, periods can be anywhere from one day to two months late. Another apparent issue is that according to lawmakers, if there is any fetal “heartbeat” detected, you are not allowed to get an abortion. According to the American Pregnant Association, a “heartbeat” can be detected as early as six weeks. Ultrasounds start detecting some pregnancies at five weeks in the first term. Many women do not get an ultrasound in the first trimester, due to them either not knowing they are pregnant or not having the financial resources to do so.

    “I think it’s hard to say ‘do this or do that but I do think it’s killing a baby. The way I think of it [Texas abortion law] is this. That even if you agree with it or don’t agree with it, it’s against the Supreme Court so it shouldn’t be a law,”Colin Gallagher (9) said.

   Due to the law, patients who now want to receive a medical abortion must travel out of state or know before six weeks to get an abortion. According to CompassCare Pregnancy & Abortion Info Services, a regular abortion can cost anywhere from $75 to $2,500 in the first trimester with the price increasing as a third trimester abortion can cost $3,000 and higher. Adding to the price of an abortion, an ultrasound can cost from $150 to $2,000.  

   “The Texas law is so stupid. Most women don’t even know they are pregnant in six weeks. How are you supposed to know if you are pregnant without any suspicions until the past six weeks?” Brenna Pacheco (10) said.

   Political and religious beliefs play into the passing of the law. Statistics from the Pew Research Center showed us some of these differences. In Texas, at least 35 percent of those who are Republican say abortion is legal in all cases. Another 62 percent of adults say it is illegal in most cases, with 2 percent being unsure. Meanwhile, at least 39 percent of adults who have no lean to either party say it is legal with 56 percent of people thinking it’s illegal in most/all cases. The last 6 percent of people are unsure. Lastly, 58 percent of Democrats believe abortion is legal and 36 percent believe it is illegal, with 6 percent being unsure. Many have debated that once a woman conceives, or a fetus has a heartbeat, then that fetus is alive. Others debate that something is not truly alive until it is born an infant. A majority of Republicans are men while a majority of Democrats are women.  The percentage of men to women in the republican party is 51 percent to 49 percent. The number of people with no lean to either party from men to women is 49 percent to 51 percent.  Lastly, the percentage of men to women in the democratic party is 47 percent to 53 percent. 

   “It just seems like Texas has a constant thing of going against women and their reproductive rights. Like I said, who are you to tell a woman what she can and can’t do? It’s her body, a lot of women have lots of reasons [for an abortion], whether that’s financial or their not ready or they were a victim of some sort. It’s [Texas abortion law] just not fair. I’ve seen a good amount of people who are in charge of that and it’s all white men. It’s like really, come on. You don’t know what it’s like so just shut up and stay away from what women do with their bodies. If you’re not a woman, just don’t,” Samantha Mckethen (11) said. 

   People across the United States are debating whether this is taking away women’s rights or not. According to Oyez, in 1973, a law was passed from Roe v. Wade trial that abortion was legalized, if needed to save the mother. The main question was: does the constitution recognize a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy using abortion? The case started in 1970, when Jane Roe (a fake name for legal purposes) filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade. Henry Wade was the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, where Roe lived. She challenged that an abortion should be legal if done by a doctor’s order to save a mother’s life. This challenged the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment. The amendment most challenged was the Fourteenth Amendment with the “right to privacy,” which was with the government’s intent on protecting “the potentiality of human life” and women’s health. Texas’s law was violating these rights. Justice Harry Blackmun revealed the case won, with votes 7-2. Abortion was made legal for women in their first trimester, using their own choice discussed with their personal physician. In the second trimester, abortion may be legal, but still affected by the state as long as it’s related to maternal health. Abortion is only legal in the third trimester if the birth can cause harm or death upon the mother. 

   Some women of the United States are now wondering how soon or if these laws are already in their state. Center for American Progress states that Arkansas has restricted the use of abortions by passing 10 laws in 2021 alone. Arizona has also taken wide-spread measures to restrict abortions. These restrictions include; limited access to abortion medication, reducing research on fetuses, targeting abortion providers and banning public funding.  A lot of states listed here are non-supportive for abortions. As of Sept. 1, 2021 these states have abortion-restrictive laws: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.  States that are supportive of abortions are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington.  All other states not listed are neutral on the topic.  

   Many causes of abortion are: unwanted pregnancy, rape, incest etc.  The law does not give exceptions for any of these causes. Referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3 million women in the U.S. have had a rape-related pregnancy once in their lifetime. Women who were forced into having intercourse by their partners did not want a child, were forced off birth control and their partner refused to wear a condom. 

   “I think that if a woman was raped or incest [occurred], that six weeks is enough time to go to the doctor or seek help. I don’t think giving six weeks is infringing on a woman’s rights. It may not be a whole lot of time but I don’t think it’s a problem,” Josh Warn (11) said.