The Texas Abortion Law has sparked national conversation and uproar. The law bans abortions after six weeks, which is oftentimes before someone even knows they are pregnant. Abortion rights activist students at C.K. McClatchy High School feel threatened by the law, as it may have detrimental effects on their futures.
The law allows private individuals to bring suit against anyone who may be assisting in helping a person obtain an abortion performed after the 6 week limit. Anyone who “aids” the procedure can be sued, and citizens are promised a $10,000 plaintiff and legal fees if they win the suit.
Abortion is only permitted after this time period if the pregnancy causes the person to face a life-threatening medical emergency, making no exceptions for cases of incest, rape, and even if the fetus has no chance of survival.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule soon regarding whether the Biden administration and abortion providers may challenge the law in spite of its unusual structure. In September, the justices turned down emergency requests to block the law.
Aviva Pellman, Secretary of Girls Across the Globe Club at C.K. McClatchy stated, “The Supreme Court essentially opted to step back from such an urgent matter and no matter how many times they are met with arguments and demands against it, refuse to block the law.”
A US National Institute of Health report found that illegal, unsafe abortions are a leading cause of maternal death every year. Of those who survive, 5 million suffer long term health complications.
Pellman says, “A means of preventing this are less restrictive abortion laws but pro-lifers seem to care more for an embryo that has yet to enter the world, than a woman’s life.”
In addition to cisgender women — meaning women whose gender identity matches their biological sex at birth — transgender men and nonbinary people can also get pregnant and are impacted by changes to abortion access.
According to The Sacramento Bee, as of 2019, around 97 percent of women in California live in a county with at least one abortion-providing clinic, a rate that is one of the highest in America. When asked what it may be like to have that stripped away from her, Pellman said, “It definitely worries me that other states may replicate this Texas law. I could not imagine living in a state where I do not have that option, so I have already ruled out the possibility of going to college in Texas.”
Abortion providers in states near Texas have reported an increase of patients, which could be the result of patients crossing state lines to seek care. According to NBC news, under the law, it is nearly impossible to obtain care within Texas, posing an even more serious threat to those who cannot afford to get an out-of-state abortion. Patients crossing state lines tend to have the time and financial resources needed to travel; minors, people of color, and low income communities rarely have that same privilege.
C.K. McClatchy’s Feminist Coalition met to discuss the matter. This group of abortion rights activists discussed and acknowledged the groups in which this law disproportionately affects.
Co-President of the club, Ginger Rubin, said, “The law not only criminalizes women’s autonomy, it also perpetuates classism and represents how conservative policy hates poor and marginalized people. It must also be considered that if you have a child when you can not afford one, it drives you even deeper into poverty.”
The Texas abortion law reflects the success of the conservative strategy post Trump’s presidency. According to the New York Times, conservative forces have spent decades installing an anti-abortion majority and it is paying off.
Hetty Turner, member of the Feminist Coalition, mentioned the failure of the judicial system to properly represent all voices.
“The law brings to light the corruption of the judicial system. The super majority of conservative people in the supreme court are always detrimental to true democratic representation. Funny how we are still debating women’s bodily autonomy in 2021,” Turner said.