OPINION: Texas Should Lift Restrictive Abortion Laws

OPINION: Texas Should Lift Restrictive Abortion Laws

Sanika Nayak , World News Editor

Dear Governor Abbott,


On January 22, 1973, the tumultuous abortion question came to a head at the Roe v Wade decision. What should have nulled the issue sparked even more controversy.  Although a  woman is considered equal to a man in the United States, there is still debate on whether she should have control over her own body– and I can’t fathom why. Many conservative states have put forth limits to stop abortions and maneuver around the Roe v Wade decision, with Texas taking the prize for the coming up with the hardest possible way to for women to obtain an abortion. However, I do not think that our state should consider this an accomplishment–instead, it is a shameful setback that obstructs the rights of women and stymies social progress.

The restrictions put forth by Texas law are not only unconstitutional, but also unsafe. Trying to shut down abortion clinics that do not adhere to petty laws restricts a woman’s access to quality health care, and forces her to settle for less or to travel to an entirely different state. Texas also requires women to come in for an ultrasound before the procedure in a last minute attempt to change a woman’s mind on her pregnancy. This is a completely insensitive practice, as no woman should be cajoled into keeping a child she feels that she cannot adequately care for.

A child is a huge change in any person’s life. It takes up both time and energy, requiring full support at all times. In many instances, a girl is not ready to have the child- she may be too young or not ready financially or mentally. Having the baby would put huge barriers onto the girl’s chance to start her own life. After a child, she would have a much more difficult time pursuing a higher education– especially if she did not have support from her husband or family, as often is the case. She would be forced to pursue a mediocre career, anything to obtain a salary to take care of herself and the child. The woman is now not living to her full potential, and is being boxed into a single role- motherhood. This restriction of women creates an imbalanced society, a society that Betty Friedan criticized in her hugely popular essay The Feminine Mystique. By forcing women to give birth, society is once again giving in to set gender norms, and progress is automatically set back.

Pro-life proponents also often do not consider the life of the child after he or she is born. 42% of women undergoing an abortion live below the poverty line. If they cannot feed themselves, how can they afford those luxuries for a child? A woman should never be forced to raise a child under these conditions unless she feels completely ready. A child raised in this setting will not be presented with the opportunities he or she may have gotten had the woman become a mother at the time of her choosing. Although the argument of adoption is brought up, the truth is, adoption really isn’t a viable option. To force a woman to give birth and then give up her child is still forcing her to go through nine months of hardships during pregnancy, during which doing simple tasks (such as going to school, in the case of young girls) become very difficult. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a child put up for adoption will have a comfortable life– he or she may be forced to live forever in unsatisfactory foster homes.

Abortion also gives women the right to walk away from a pregnancy– a right that a man retains but is seldom associated with women. Although I am not condoning absent fathers, I do want every woman to have the same choices and opportunities as a man. If a man can distance himself from a pregnancy and start his own life and climb the economic ladder, it is completely unjust to stop women from at least having the choice to do this as well.

Additionally, pro-life advocates are misinformed and closed-minded when it comes to the science behind their arguments. Their argument is centered along the belief that as soon as a sperm fertilizes an egg, it becomes a human that must be protected — a human, who has the full constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But somehow, in a race to protect the rights of unborn children, pro-life promoters tend to forget to protect the rights of the woman carrying the child. They are choose to support an unborn organism over a living person.  Furthermore, if science tells the truth (which it does), hundreds of eggs are fertilized, out of which very few turn into an actual fetus. Tell me, Governor Abbott, if you rely on science to tell us about the processes of the Earth, the galaxies, and about the human body, how can you fail to trust scientific explanation only when it comes to this?

I am not campaigning for the termination of every girl’s pregnancy, nor do I regard abortion in a lighthearted manner. I know it is a decision that is difficult and carries much gravity — but I am passionate about protecting a woman’s right to choose, a choice that has not been granted even in the most advanced and progressive countries such as America. I have great respect for women who choose to have children and are able to work through it; however, I feel that society should also allot respect for women who realize that they are not able care for a child and choose to terminate their pregnancy. The decision is personal, but there should at least be a chance for decision.