When starting this article, I sat in silence thinking about what to write because even after four days of hearing the news, I was still speechless.
The Supreme Court ruling from last Wednesday night refused to block a ban on abortion from Texas that prevents abortion after six weeks. In a 5-4 vote, three Trump- appointed justices voted in the majority, with Chief Justice Roberts and the court’s liberal members on the dissent.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke words of fury in her dissent.
“Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent.
Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, Roberts and Kagan understand what the rest do not—that this law will not stop all abortions, just safe abortions.
This ruling is an attack on women across the nation, but we are so caught up in the pro-life versus pro-choice language to even realize it.
Pro-life versus pro-choice has become the whole narrative for the abortion discussion, when the rhetoric surrounding those terms sets the pro-choice side up for failure.
To me, the term “pro-life” means things that advance the quality of life and one’s overall well-being. With that lens, vaccinations, universal health care, welfare programs and industry regulations related to climate change would all be pro-life. Yet an overwhelming number of pro-lifers are against these systems.
Those who are pro-choice are those who believe vaccinations are a personal choice and cannot be regulated. However, “my body my choice” signs have been common at anti-mask rallies, an interesting parallel to the typical women's rights slogan.
When looking at statistics, most pro-life states actually have horrible welfare programs for both adults and children.
According to an economic data release from Lubbock, Texas, 17% of women in Texas live below the poverty line. Nationwide, the Guttmacher Institute reports that 49% of abortion patients are below the poverty line, making this more of a social justice issue than anything.
Even more disturbing, Texas is ranked as 43rd in the United States for child welfare. Furthermore, 1.5 million children live in poverty which is double the national average, states KVUE, an ABC News affiliate.
It is also interesting what the state views as lives worth saving. Texas is the state that has carried out the most death penalty executions to date with 570 since regulated under federal law. The state was problematic for it being the first state to lift its mask mandate and capacity restrictions in early March. Finally, the Harvard Business Review ranked Texas as 42nd overall in its health care systems.
The prevalence of Texas’ social problems plaguing their born citizens should have been enough to show them that they need to concern themselves with reevaluating the efficiency of their welfare programs, and not as much with the unborn.
The Texas law is also different in how it enforces its law. The state relies on lawsuits from citizens to abortion providers to enforce the new law. This means that a doctor who gives an abortion can be sued, but the abortion patient themself cannot be sued.
According to AP News, “it allows any private citizen to sue Texas abortion providers who violate the law, as well as anyone who ‘aids or abets’ a woman getting the procedure.”
The rhetoric of the law is criminalizing and enables the so-called vigilantes who want to protect fetuses. By framing abortion as a crime that must be stopped, we are forgetting to address what goes into someone making that decision— factors like income, the patient’s mental and physical health, the patient’s current situation, etc.
Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion organization, has a website with tips and tricks for how to detect a doctor performing abortions or someone who “aids and abets” in the procedure.
It even has lawyers linked that will prosecute the victims. However, the tab dedicated to getting pregnancy help is nearly blank, and only says to google pregnancy centers near you.
This whole thing is enough to make me give up on America.
Women don’t just get abortions because they don’t want to have kids, and it’s OK if that’s the reason that they do. Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy.
If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one. Don’t put limits on other women based on your own personal (and often faith-based) beliefs.
Texas has made it clear that it doesn’t care about the people who live in the state—no true “pro-life” state government would be as anti-mask, anti- health care and anti-welfare as Texas is.