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The state of texas has passed some of the countries strictest laws restricting a woman’s right to get an abortion. Despide the landmark decision the supreme court made during Roe. v Wade in 1973, that legalized abortion nationwide, Texas legislation continues to create laws to regulate women’s reproduction rights. The decision to have an abortion should be made by the woman, she should have the right to privacy on the matter, and should not be restricted of her rights to terminate the pregnancy. Therefore, we must vote against and oppose texas legislators that deliberately try to impose their moral objections onto womens fundamental rights.
The political culture in texas was once conservative democrat or even moderate democrat. Over time, we had a large influx of new residents with conservative ideas, we saw the conversion of conservative democrats going into the republican party. These were some of the reasons for the realignment. Today the Texas legislature is made up primarily by the republican party. The overwhelming majority of members are conservative, anglo, christian right, males. Conservative republicans tend to believe that the best role for government in economic affairs is a limited one, and that traditional (and offen religious) conceptions of social issues and moral decisions are best. They oppose large social programs that expand the role of government, along with taxes on individuals and businesses. Lastly, they oppose large social programs that expand the role of government.
Seeing that Republicans control the legislative body today, and make up the majority of voters who turn out and vote on what they believe, we continue to see conservative laws on abortion being passed. In 2003 Texas passed the Women’s Right to Know Act that requires women who are seeking an abortion after 16 weeks of pregnancy to go to a hospital or ambulatory surgical center. Women were also required to make two separate doctor visits. In the first visit, physicians were required to “inform the woman that specified types of medical assistance benefits may be available to her; the father is liable for child support; public and private agencies provide pregnancy prevention counseling and referrals for obtaining birth control, including emergency contraceptives for victims of rape and incest; and she has the right to view printed state materials, which are also accessible on the Internet, describing the fetus and listing agencies that offer abortion alternatives”, and explain in detail, what the abortion procedure consisted of. When this law was put into place none of the facilities met the requirement to be an ambulatory surgical center, which restricted womens options of facilities to go to. The 24 hour period was required between visits and it was a way conservatives were trying to impose their moral values on to other people’s rights. Essentially they were giving women a 24 hours thinking period to make them feel guilty about going through an abortion.
The second visit would include the actual abortion procedure. In 2012 the texas sonogram law came into effect and required a woman to get a sonogram 24 hours before the procedure, it required the doctor to dictate what he sees and play the fetal heartbeat. In 2013 House Bill 2 was signed by Rick Perry and put into effect. This bill listed some of the most drastic attempts to restrict abortion which ordered physicians to “have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility” banned “abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization, unless the woman has a life-threatening medical condition or the fetus has a severe abnormality; Doctors administering medication abortion must follow a state-mandated protocol; All abortion facilities must meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, including facilities that only provide medication abortion”. If left alone, HB2 could have caused the majority of abortion clinics to shut down due to physicians not meeting the requirements. In essence it also would have left the remaining abortion clinics unable provide services to hundreds of women because they would not have been able to keep up with the demand. This also would affect women who were close to the 20 week gestational period and risk their availability to get an abortion. HB2 also would have made it hard for women who were considered low income, since they would not only have to pay for abortion services, but also pay to travel to an abortion facility nearest to them. Ultimately, in 2014 Whole Woman’s Health sued John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State health Services, in a supreme court and overruled HB2. The supreme court deemed it unconstitutional and said it placed an undue burden on low income women.
In 2005 Texas legislature passed a law that required parental consent for minors under 18. At the time there were options for teens who were emancipated, they had to go to court and get approval and a signature by a judge. However in 2015, those laws were made stricter by only allowing them to get approval from a judge in their home county. Being a teen mother myself, I do not believe that parental consent should be required to get an abortion. It seems logical from an outside perspective that a child should tell their parents about a huge decision they are about to make. The parent might be able to help swey the young mother into not getting an abortion but I still believe that it is up to the mother, however old she may be, to decide if she wants to go through the pregnancy, and not be forced by her parents into going through a pregnancy if she does not get consent.
Another way conservatives opposed abortion was by arguing they did not want their tax money to assist in paying for others abortions. Texas bill 214 was signed by Greg Abbott on August 15th 2018 witch limit insurance coverage for abortions and stated “This bill prohibits insurance providers from forcing Texas policyholders to subsidize elective abortions”. This bill leaves women with fewer alternatives they are forced to pay out of pocket, or possibly get financial aid from abortion facilities that receive grants. For women who want to “plan ahead”, they may purchase a supplemental plan from a health insurance that will cover abortion cost in case or rape, incest, and personal decision abortions. Ultimately this restricts a woman’s right by placing a burden on women who are of low income who cannot afford to pay out of pocket, or who cannot afford to pay for an alternative health insurance. It also limit the possibility of the aid an abortion facility will be able to help with.
Since anti abortion advocates cannot make abortions illegal they try and impose laws that make it more expensive, set limit and rules that make it difficult. Another piece of legislation that Greg Abbott has signed into effect is HB 13 where “Physicians would have to submit reports to the state health commission within three days that include detailed information such as the patient’s year of birth, race, marital status, state and county of residence, and the date of her last menstrual cycle. Physicians and facilities that fail to comply with the reporting requirements would face a $500 fine for each day in violation”. Conservatives argue their main concern is women’s health, in my opinion, this house bill is made to intimidate physicians by charging a fine for not complying with the requirements of this law. It has also added something women have to worry about, and that is their private information being accessed without their consent and might be a factor stopping a woman from getting an abortion.
While the federal government legalized abortion rights many years ago, conservative texas legislators have continuously tried to oppose the ruling by passing state laws restricting the right of equality women are inherently born with. However, I believe they are not the only ones to blame. Our political participation in electing officials and voting on laws plays a huge role. The majority is made up of people/voters who turn out and vote on what they believe, if we continue to elect representatives who are against abortion we will continue to see these laws, we will continue to regress and overstep on women’s constitutional rights. If abortion advocates do not go out fight back and vote we will remain to be the unheard.
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