The Texas Heartbeat Bill; How Women at CdM Feel about it

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Elianna Posin, Journalist

May 19th, 2021. A monumental date in the history of Texas and all of the United States. Governor Greg Abbott of Austin, Texas, signed the Texas Heartbeat Law, effective September 1st, 2021. The law pertains to the decade-long moral battle of abortion, which the Supreme Court ruled legal in the famous 1973 case, Roe v. Wade. The bill prohibits abortion after a woman surpasses six weeks pregnant or when the fetus’ “heartbeat” is detected. Even in situations of rape and/or incest.

 

 “What makes a law in Texas so momentous?” one may ask. Thirteen other states have passed similar heartbeat bills, which all faced legal obstacles and have ended up getting vetoed or modified. However, the way that the Texas legislature specifically words the law will make it difficult to overturn. 

 

This bill has brought to light some significant disturbances in many communities around the United States of America, especially for women and anyone who can bear children. The controversy has lain somewhat dormant for pro-choicers as Roe v. Wade continued to protect women’s rights to abortion, but the Texas law has reactivated both fear, anger, and even disbelief in not only adults but in students as well. 

 

Young women at CdM have strong reactions to the bill, even though it is taking place over a thousand miles away. “I disagree with the bill.” said a CdM girl Junior, who prefers to remain anonymous. “I am for the ‘My Body My Choice’ movement, and I think that if you want to get an abortion then that is your decision and not the government’s.” 

 

Not only are girls at CdM reacting for the sake of other women, but they fear for themselves as well, and what the future holds for women and the progression of women’s rights in America. “It scares me a little bit because I know I would want to have a safe, legal abortion if I was in that situation,” The same student said. “We just have to stay strong and keep fighting for the right [to abortion].” During this time of turmoil, women find themselves empathizing with one another even from thousands of miles away. Senior Lena Pham is not only frightened for herself, but she also worries for the women in Texas, where the law directly impacts them. “My brother [and his girlfriend] live in Texas, and this is scary for them,” she said. 

 

Questions often ensue on whether the bill or versions of the bill will spread like wildfire across the US, completely overturning Roe v. Wade or simply staying contained on a state level. Pham has thoroughly thought through the possibility, using the Domino Effect as the metaphor as an example. Once one thing with a sizable influence happens, others tend to follow, especially with something so controversial and impactful, Pham responded. 

There are two sides to every story, topic, controversy, etc. In some circumstances, people can see all perspectives, the bigger picture. But not this time, Pham makes clear. She understands people being pro-life for themselves, but the line is drawn when trying to control other people’s bodies. “I think [outlawing abortions] is morally incorrect. It’s very degrading towards women, forcing them to carry out a pregnancy and parenthood against their will,” she said. Not only does the bill affect women physically, but mentally as well. Going through with a nine-month pregnancy, the birthing procedure, and caring for an infant, is very physically taxing. The process only gets more difficult when poor mental health comes into play. In some cases, the woman has already gone through an extremely traumatic event if the child was a cause of rape. The addition of their rights being stripped from them makes it all the worse. 

 

Both girls had a clear feeling when they first read the “Texas outlaws abortions after 6 weeks” headline on whichever news source they followed: shock, disgust, alarm, the list could go on. Pham even immediately texted her mother, who had a very similar reaction as well. These startling feelings do not only affect these three women but millions of women around the United States. As protests surge, women flee Texas, and the rate of illegal abortions rise, there is a chance that the Texas heartbeat bill will be challenged; regardless of how it’s worded. Until then, women have found peace within each other, banding together to keep themselves empowered. 

 

“Women have to stand up and keep fighting for it,” the first CdM student said. “In this time of need, we need to stay strong.”