On May 19, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill No. 8, banning abortions as early as six weeks — before most women know they are pregnant — while making no exceptions for victims of assault or incest. This law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected and enables any citizen to sue anyone who drives a woman to a clinic, any abortion provider and those who pay for the procedure.
Other states have passed similar bills and once signed, activists filed lawsuits against them. Courts have also blocked these laws, but the bill’s enforcement mechanism requires private citizens to file lawsuits against violators, making it hard to overturn this law. The U.S. Supreme Court revealed that in fall 2021, they will determine if these laws are unconstitutional.
Despite the difficulty, many Texans are still standing up against Senate Bill 8. Activists in San Antonio and Austin rallied against the bill, and over 100 demonstrators marched to the Texas Capitol. Ken Lambrecht, president of Planned Parenthood in Texas, said, “We will continue to stand up for [them] with all of our resources.”
At the time I heard about this issue, I was going through mental illness, and still am. I figured if I would never be ok, I might as well fight for other women and their rights. For these reasons, I believe abortion should be legal for all women. I announced that I would make a petition against the Heartbeat Bill and update people on what happens.
I had previously made a petition to demand our governor reinstate the mask mandate, but I wasn't as passionate as I am with this one. It took me a while to realize that part of me wanted validation, but now I know it’s about what I am fighting for. I find it is easier to make change when we understand others' experiences. As a young woman, I definitely knew I wanted this change to be made. I knew my anger was a form of love and care for these women, and I was going to do everything I could to make my voice heard.
Women are people too. Until the state recognizes that we are more than just vessels for new lives, I will do everything in my power to make sure that this bill is repealed. Life starts when we realize that living women matter more than potential babies, and they deserve to decide what happens to their own body. Around 700 women die each year due to complications with childbirth, and if abortion remains legal in Texas, lives will be saved. Not giving women the right to choose to have an abortion is like saying women can’t decide if they want to adopt and just have to adopt a baby. America isn’t the land of the free if women can’t govern their own bodies.
Many women and I agree that this law indicates a war against women. A part of my belief that this law is unjust comes from the fact that assault victims won’t be able to control their own body after they have been assaulted, after they had every ounce of sanity, independence and well-being stripped away from them. Victims of assault have already had the very important right of giving or not giving consent taken away from them. After this incredible trauma, to take away some of their choice on how to cope by revoking the right to choose abortion is inhumane. Women shouldn’t have to give birth when they are not in the mental and physical position to take care of the baby. Women who need an abortion but can’t get one are more likely to live in poverty, such as teen moms and, yes, victims of assault. If Abbott says a baby wouldn’t choose to die, the baby also wouldn’t choose to live in hunger with a mother incapable of raising them. In these cases, abortion isn’t a mother not caring for her baby – it is the opposite. The woman doesn’t want the child to live in a state of suffering.
Furthermore, the governor should never have been the one to make this decision for many reasons. One, if Abbott says abortion ends lives but chooses to end the mask mandate which causes the same result, that is very much hypocritical. When the bill was signed, there appeared to be eight women and around fifty men standing around the governor. The state senate approved the bill 18-12, and the state house followed, voting 83-64. About sixteen women were sponsors for the bill. Men being able to make this decision about women’s bodies is wrong. They will never experience what it is like to need an abortion and to be pregnant alone.
With all of that said. I’d like you to help me make change by signing my petition. We need to recognize how important this is and what we can do to help change it. Go to change.org/womendecide if you would like to sign.