In Texas, it’s “my body, my choice” when it comes to choosing to wear a mask in public or getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The state has even mandated that people don’t have to wear masks if they don’t want to, vaccinated or not, even in places like school environments. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said himself that it’s “past the time for government mandates…time for personal responsibility”.
“My body, my choice” seems to have no significance in Texas when it comes to women making decisions about their body though. Apparently, it also seems as though 57,000 COVID-19 deaths mean nothing to the man who signed this bill.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law on September 1st 2021. The law declares that women cannot legally get an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at this point. What if they don’t find out that they’re pregnant until after that short time frame? Are they supposed to just give birth anyways? In addition, they’re also prohibited from aborting following rape or incest. Women whose choices were already taken away from them have their choices taken away from them yet again. The only exception for abortions past six weeks are for “medical emergencies”.
Another poor choice made by the Texan legislation declares that any citizen can file a lawsuit against a health care provider or anyone they believed had anything to do with supporting an abortion, including as little as simply driving someone to an abortion clinic. They’re practically creating abortion bounty hunters: people can win a monetary prize for hunting someone involved with an abortion.
Does Roe v. Wade mean anything to the Texas Government?
To those who are unfamiliar with this Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade (1973) was a case in which Jane Roe filed a case against Henry Wade, the district attorney in Dallas County, Texas, after Wade told Roe that it was illegal for her to get an abortion unless her doctor told her that it was necessary for her to get an abortion to save her life. The court declared that abortion fell under the privacy protection in the fourteenth amendment, and Roe v. Wade became the landmark precedent for future abortion cases.
So, nearly fifty years ago, the United States Supreme Court made a decision that a woman has the right to an abortion, and Texas took that right away for its’ citizens. The people’s last resort in trials, the Supreme Court, declared that abortions were constitutional, and Texas – the “great state” of Texas – decided that it wasn’t.
How does this affect the rest of the country?
Well, now that Texas has enacted this law, other Republican majority states are pushing their own versions of similar legislation.
As of right now, the Supreme Court is set to hear the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – concerning a Mississippi law that banning most abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy – during the curent term. However, the question remains: is the conservative majority Court going to overturn Roe v. Wade in this upcoming court case?
It is expected that the public will learn of this decision next summer. Though the Supreme Court currently holds a conservative majority, a law professor at Pepperdine University, Barry McDonald, believes that they may be hesitant to overturn a case like Roe v. Wade that has remained good law for as long as it has.